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Yarn Magazine's Sarah Jane Wilson looks at 1970s Vintage

1970s – “the decade that taste forgot”, or a major 2015 trend?

Fringing ‘n’ flares suede skirts ‘n’ shaggy styles. oh yes, Boho 1970s is a major 2015 trend!

The 1970s are often referred to as “the decade that taste forgot” and “a hangover from the swinging sixties” yet they brought us the Pompidou centre in Paris, The Magic Roundabout in full colour, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue albums. Hmm, maybe enough said.

Coloured flokati rugs and even indoor hanging plants are being hailed as the homeware heroes of the season! Spider plant, anyone? But, wait, why buy new?

For an authentic 1970s vibe, Sarah Jane Wilson makes some groovy suggestions.

Schreiber original nest of tables - Yarn Magazine 1970s vintage


This bargainous set of three tables is perfect 1970s style — you could have your Blue Nun, Black Tower and Beaujolais (with accompanying plate of little “cheesy pineapples”) at each level. Molly’s Den, Bridport, £40.

Schriber Furniture

Chaim Schreiber came to Britain to escape Nazi persecution and started making radio cabinets. In 1957 he bought a bankrupt furniture business. By the 1970s his business enabled him to introduce furniture centres (managing both distribution and manufacture). Wise business moves, such as a merger with GEC, meant that Schreiber Furniture was one of the biggest names in furniture in the 1970s. Chaim Schreiber became chief executive of domestic appliance makers Hotpoint and Morphy Richards.

Large Tablecloth - Yarn Magazine's look at 1970s vintage

Large Tablecloth (French Industrial)

Shown on an 8ft-long table, this fantastic print is just asking to be used at a fondue party. Salvage Style,Bridport, £45.

The Seventies

In February 1988, influential style magazine The Face published a cover story about the 1970s headlined The Decade That Taste Forgot.

Jon Savage wrote: “Our reaction to Seventies fashions is as much a result of conditioning as it is a considered reaction to their cut. For they are now directly associated with attributes that have no place in Success Culture.” Laid-back 1970s styles seemed as impractical and self-indulgent as hippie communes to those power-dressing Thatcherites.

‘Daisy’ by Frank Thrower for Dartington

'Daisy' by Frank Thrower for Dartingon- Yarn Magazine 1970s vintage

An elegant piece of design from 1977 by the renowned and very collectable Frank Thrower.

Thrower has been the creative inspiration of Dartington since it was established in 1967 and his pieces are sought-after — this set would make a great starting point.

Alleyways, Bridport, £7 for the dish, £18 each for the cheese plates.

How to get the 1970s look


Fondue sets, lava lamps, shagpile, yellow, avocado and orange palettes — with 50 shades of brown. Swanky hostess trolley and anything with big florals, daisies, mushrooms or owls on. Think caravan curtain chic.


Wide trousers and kaftans were staple items of the 1970s and are a great basis for your summer wardrobe or suitcase. All of the following encapsulate the on-trend boho-chic: suede, kimonos, crochet, fringing, platforms, orange lipstick, floppy hats and high-waisted denim flares. If in doubt, think of fashion icons Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and the original It-girls such as Jane Birkin, Farah Fawcett and Stevie Nicks or the queen of bohemia Joni Mitchell. For gents, you can’t go wrong with a big scarf in homage to Tom Baker’s Dr Who.

Sewing Box Stool - Yarn Magazine looks at 1970s vintage

Sewing box / stool

With all that fringing to add to your clothes, you’ll need something to store it in.

This funky dual-purpose item would sit happily in a lounge, ready for some hardcore sewing, followed by some lounge-core style relaxing.

Alleyways, Bridport, £15.

1970s Britain on Screen

If you’ve never seen it, Mike Leigh’s play Abigail’s Party gives you a telling insight into 1970s middle-class Britain and all its foibles. Another classic, featuring the East Beach at West Bay, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin paints a bleak, but ultimately inspiring, picture of the modern condition.

Orange Bottle Crate

1970s vintage bottle crate carrier

Going to a 1970s party and don’t know how to transport your bottles of Babycham?! This crazy orange crate solves all your problems. Or you could just use it to zing up your recycling.

Alleyways, Bridport, £15.


Digital watch, pocket calculator, the word processor, Post-it notes and the mobile phone.

Two-tone brown Italian leather shoes - Yarn Magazine looks at 1970s vintage style

Two-tone brown Italian leather shoes

(size 8 but narrow)

If you want to channel all the fashionistas’ advice this season but retain an air of sophistication to your look, then these are a classic purchase. Molly’s Den, Bridport, £25.


Vintage leather waistcoat

This would look super cool with those two-tone shoes. Adding a nod-and-a-wink to the Boho look but could be modernised when accompanied with a smart polo-neck and skinny jeans. Molly’s Den, Bridport, £32.


My mum got married in 1970 in a crochet wedding dress — I still have the local paper press-cutting headlined “Crochet dress for the bride”.

Crochet design moved quickly from a sensible, keep-you-warm application in the 1950s and 1960s to a wild, creative and colourful wave of designs in the 1970s. “Granny squares” were made and transformed into waistcoats and shawls. The aesthetics of crochet really lent themselves to the hippie, boho scene.

Bridport Yarn in South Street (as featured in the March issue of Yarn) has a great range of courses to teach you this addictive hobby and its modern-day application.

The British Home

64% of homes had a washing machine, 91% had a telly and the first microwave oven was sold in 1974. Gadget-wise, in 1978 the VHS video recorder went on sale and Sony began selling the Walkman personal stereo in 1979.

For children, Barbie, Sindy and Action Man were popular toys — and the most iconic toy of the decade was the spacehopper, always in orange

Leaving all those gadgets behind, the package holiday abroad was an exciting new adventure for many Brits.

Bridport in the 1970s

1970s Bridport saw no more “pounds, shillings and pence.” The three-day week was imposed in February 1972 to save electricity at the start of the miners’ strike. Then, in the summer of 1976, water supplies reached record low levels.

To cheer us all up, in 1977 the nation celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee with street parties and the BBC refused to play God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols. After a decade of strikes, the era ended with the Winter of Discontent in 1979 when ITV went off the air for five months and, for Bridport, added turmoil, as the town suffered serious flooding.

The decade saw the start of our much-loved Bridport Arts Centre, however in 1975 it also marked the closure of the West Bay to Maiden Newton railway — one of the last victims of the Beeching Cuts (grrr…!)

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