Some houses you just can’t get out of your head. Woodland, the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of the producer Robert Evans, is not exactly a secret; it has been published several times and was a character unto itself in “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” the 2002 film based on Evans’s blunt, colorful autobiography. The facts are well known: that it was love at first sight when Evans first saw the house (which was designed in 1942 by the architect John Woolf for the interior designer James Pendleton) in the mid-1950s; that after he bought the house a decade later, it became an epicenter of industry deal-making; and that after selling the house during one of the bleakest periods of his life, Evans bought it back with a little help from his friends, who included Jack Nicholson. But no matter. For me, the house is not just a portrait of its owner; it’s also a portrait of an era that’s quickly fading from memory.
I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles in the 1980s and lived there in the early ’90s, and I watched as the last vestiges of old Hollywood glamour — the people and the places, including houses — disappeared. On film and in photographs, Woodland still captured that glamour, which was all about a casual chic that looked effortless.
And the house, unlike some movie stars, is as seductive in person as it is on film. It’s easy to see why, with a crib like that, the seven-times-married Evans was such a legend with the ladies. Who could resist that swank little pavilion with the elliptical swimming pool and the enchanted garden of roses and trees? As Evans said of his ex-wives, “Maybe they fell in love with the house and not with me.” Woodland is modest by today’s McMansion standards: it is basically a one-bedroom house, on one floor, with a tiny guest house, a living room and dining room sized for mere mortals, and the kind of kitchen you’d find in, well, your house. But it’s not the square footage that matters; it’s the elegant proportions, details and decorating that give Woodland its larger-than-life charm.
Flanking the living room windows are another pair of tall double doors, each of which is topped by an elliptical niche occupied by a backlit statue. The decorating mixes comfortable upholstery and antiques with a French accent. It’s a movie mogul’s version of the Petit Trianon, only with racy photos by Helmut Newton (a great friend of Evans’s, who shot many pictures at Woodland) and a wardrobe of tinted glasses in the dressing room closet. The corridor from the foyer to the kitchen is lined with photographs of Evans with every celebrity imaginable, from Henry Kissinger to Michael Jackson to ex-wives like Ali McGraw and Phyllis George. Even the butler has panache. The gracious and witty Alan Selka, who has been with Evans for many years, occupies a room that is crammed to Victorian perfection with his favorite things, which include an old-fashioned Victrola.
If it sounds like you’re in another world at Woodland, you are. Beverly Hills is a lot more crowded than it was when the house was built, and you can see cars whizzing past the fence, a reminder that things move faster these days. But inside the house’s gates, as Evans said, “You don’t think you’re in L.A.”
I have had a crush on this man whether he is onscreen or not…his loft is too fabulous. I love it!! JA/2015
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With a background in designing and building commercial sets for television shows, movies, and restaurants, Restaino brought Butler’s fantasy to life in his very first residential project. Restaino spent four years planning and working with Butler to create a personalized home design that represented the actor in every way. Restaino and Butler met at unusual places to gain inspiration and ideas. They walked through architectural buildings, studied walls on streets, stepped through salvaged yards, and dug through remnants of past dilapidated objects that could be resurrected; all to depict the masculinity and ruggedness of Butler. As a creator of fantasy and illusion, Restaino translates a human’s heart and personality into design as he will “take someone, suck them out of their world and take them to a place where they are transformed and get to be whoever they want to be.” He sticks to his philosophy of a design based theory through entertainment, where he creates, “this secret life” that once it is illuminated, you’ll be changed forever. And that’s exactly what he did with Butler’s home.
The design of Butler’s loft recycles the past through a soft European-bohemian style, with a bold hyper connectivity of passionate, feminine architectural features. In fact, Restaino chose to balance two completely opposite styles because “as raw as it is, there’s these claimed feminine qualities that are always in the shadow of the rustic features,” such as the chandeliers.
The cascading chandeliers over the dining table are a feature not to be overlooked. Restaino had them hanged in their original state; they were not measured, leveled or disturbed. They were as Restaino says, “organically picked from the universe.” Once the two components of feminine delicacy and erratic placement merged, Restaino knew he had disrupted the norm of interior designer ways. Being the featured focal point of the loft, Restaino described the chandeliers with such passion, as these, “heavy rounded creatures, which represented who Gerry is, very masculine and grounded, those chandeliers represented who he was in his creative mind.”
Choosing to recycle and recreate rather than purchase new, Restaino painted a large mural covered with Plexiglas for the ceiling. To create the vintage feeling, he painted the mural on canvas, aged the glass to look like dirty glass tile pieces, and held it all together by custom made tiny glass stars. Everything is tinted, textured, and worn down layer by layer. The entire place was previously a white gallery compartmentalized for a family that Restaino and architect Alexander Gorlin completely gutted. The walls are dynamic, containing layers and layers of colored plaster. Their personalities are brought out through the texture, as if they are organically growing. The massive ceiling beams are painted a faux wood grain, and the columns are composed of wood and chicken wire. Restaino made a point to refurbish everything by scavenging for “graveyard” items and giving them an extra lift to create the ultimate personalized design.
Butler’s loft goes beyond the typical New York home. It’s “a fascinating journey that you wouldn’t even imagine,” Restaino says. “If I blindfolded you and set you in the center of the apartment you would know it’s his place without ever knowing him, because of the design.” While the actor is constantly on the move filming his latest action thriller film London Has Fallen or serving as the face of Hugo Boss fragrance, his old-world, rustic Manhattan home will be waiting for the king to return.
All photographs courtesy of Durston Saylor
I have been a fan of this once in a lifetime show, and emotionally reeled in deeply…growing up in the 60’s in NY and the CT. suburbs. I’m in way deep because I’m a Vintage lover and in the biz>>>>SO>>>>I’m TRULY saddened it will our last hurrah with these people, the clothes and the FABULOUS VINTAGE FILLED sets…oh Madmen you are breaking my heart! Starts again (I just watched it) and each Sunday here after until the end…tonight Season 7 last episodes…and then poof>>>> JA/2015
Photo by Thanassi Karageorgiou
Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men
March 14–June 14
Changing Exhibitions Gallery
This new major exhibition explores the creative process behind Mad Men, one of the most acclaimed television series of all time, now launching its final seven episodes on AMC. Featuring large-scale sets including Don Draper’s office and the kitchen from the Draper’s Ossining home, more than 25 iconic costumes, props, video clips, advertising art, and personal notes and research material from series creator Matthew Weiner, the exhibition offers unique insight into the series’ origins, and how its exceptional storytelling and remarkable attention to period detail resulted in a vivid portrait of an era and the characters who lived through it. The Museum’s exhibition marks the first time objects relating to the production of Mad Men will be shown in public on this scale. The Museum will also present An Evening with Matthew Weiner and a film series featuring movies that inspired the show, selected by Weiner.
The exhibition Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men will be joined by other initiatives around New York City celebrating the series. Mad Men’s final seven episodes will air on AMC on Sundays at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT, from April 5 through May 17. Visit amctv.com for more information.
To avoid lines on weekend days, visitors are encouraged to arrive before 2:00 p.m.
Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men is presented with generous support from AMC and Lionsgate.
The epic tales of Laurel Canyon’s heyday continues to linger like the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air… It’s here that the SoCal sound was born out of an era of relaxed morals (
fucking sex), folks expanding their mental horizons (drugs), and a wave of eclectic misfits coming from all over to launch, reinvent, or escape their musical careers (rock ‘n’ roll) in this sleepy, smoky, winding hippy enclave. And the women, Mama Cass & Joni Mitchell, were the (wise and worldly beyond their years) matriarchs watching over over this peaceful, easy-feeling, community headquartered on Lookout Mountain. Henry Diltz was a friend and photographer to many in the scene those days, and his visual record and memories of these times is priceless.
“When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said, ‘Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain.’ So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain.” —Joni Mitchell“Joni Mitchell was quite a true artist: deeply creative, very thoughtful. A lot of art is imitation but for Joni it was original, from her heart. She was really a poet, and she was a painter before she made music. She was lots of fun to photograph because she spoke so brilliantly about everything. It was fun to hang out with her and listen to her talk about whatever was on her mind. She’s a grand lady now, she holds forth if there’s anybody nearby to listen. You’d see her at a party with a whole bunch of young people sitting at her feet listening to her hold forth about religion, art, the generations, life, everything.” photo by © Henry Diltz
“David Crosby came to see Joni Mitchell at the Gaslight South, in Florida. ‘Right away I thought I’d been hit by a hand grenade,’ he later said. There was something about the way Mitchell combined naked purity with artful sophistication that shocked Crosby – the sense of a young woman who had seen too much too soon. He set Joni in his sights, bedding her that week. The affair was never likely to last. ‘These were two very willful people. Neither was going to cave in. I remember being at Joni’s old apartment in Chelsea in New York and I heard this commotion on the street. And it was Crosby and Joni screaming at each other on the corner. It gave me a real sense of the volatility of their relationship,’ recalled Joel Bernstein. The volatility did not obscure David’s deep admiration for Joni’s talent, nor his awareness of the obstacles she and Elliot were encountering. ‘Everything about Joni was unique and original, but we couldn’t get a deal,’ said Elliott Roberts, who took tapes to Columbia, RCA and other majors. ‘The folk period had died, so she was totally against the grain. Everyone wanted a copy of the tape for, like, their wives, but no one would sign her.’ A demo session was green-lighted on condition that David Crosby produce it. ‘David was very enthusiastic about the music,’ Joni says. ‘He was twinkly about it. His instincts were correct: he was going to protect the music and pretend to produce me.’” via
“The sessions that eventually became Joni Mitchell could not have been more auspicious. Recording at Sunset Sound, Mitchell and Crosby kept things stripped and simple: in the main just Joni, her guitar, and such well-worked songs as ‘Marcie’ and ‘I Had a King’. The two had now officially split up. ‘They each described to me crying at the other through the glass in the studio,’ says Bernstein. Sitting in on occasional guitar and bass was Stephen Stills, who was across the hall with his group Buffalo Springfield. His bandmate, the dark and brooding Neil Young, was known to Mitchell from her apprenticeship on the Canadian folk circuit. Sharing a uniquely dry Canuck humour, Young and Mitchell had an easy rapport.” via
“That was the day (Feb. 1968) ‘Mama’ Cass had her backyard picnic for Eric Clapton, because he didn’t know anybody. I met Eric that day, and Joni Mitchell that day. Mama invited David Crosby up, thinking that he and Eric were both musicians and they’d relate to one another. She was playing the earth mother again. We used to call Mama Cass the Gertrude Stein of Laurel Canyon because she would get people together – she introduced Graham Nash to David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Crosby brought this young girl he’d just discovered – Joni Mitchell. She sat on the grass playing her guitar and Clapton sat there mesmerized with her playing. Joni Mitchell played differently, she tuned her guitar to a chord, and Eric Clapton had never seen that before.” Photo by © Henry Diltz
“Eric Clapton sat spellbound on the lawn as Joni cooed ‘Urge For Going’, a song inspired by the death of the folk movement. Crosby was at her side, a joint in his mouth and a Cheshire-cat smile of satisfaction on his face. ‘Mama Cass organized a little backyard barbecue, because she’d met Cream she invited Clapton, who was very quiet and almost painfully shy. And Joni Mitchell was there and doing her famous open tunings, and Eric sat and stared at her hands to try and figure out what she was doing. Cass’s daughter Owen is sitting in the foreground.” Photo by © Henry Diltz. via
Mama Cass Elliot on her red 1968 Norton Commando motorcycle. “That’s ‘Mama’ Cass with her daughter Owen. When I started taking photographs, they all started saying ‘oh I need a publicity photo, or a poster, or a record cover’. And my hobby turned into a kind of job – but it was always really a fun thing. I was photographing all day long – flowers and dogs and cats, pretty girls, old pickup trucks. It was just good when taking photos could pay for itself.” Photo by © Henry Diltz
Crosby, Stills and Nash, Los Angeles, CA, 1969. “”The famous First Album of CSN sitting on the couch in Downtown LA. What most people don’t know is that the house was torn down a few days later so the band could never to retake this photograph sitting in their (proper) group name order.” Photo by © Henry Diltz
“Errant Byrd David Crosby and former Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills were brought together in 1968 by Mama Cass Elliot. Graham Nash listened to the pair sing You Don’t Have to Cry, asked to hear it again, then on the third performance joined in with his own perfect harmony. The high point of their collaboration came with Déjà Vu, their second album – the sound of California in a way the Beach Boys had been a few years earlier. You could argue the trio never stopped symbolizing the Laurel Canyon scene: their formation spoke of its optimism and talent, their transformation to coked-out, cocooned multimillionaires, unable to contain their own egos long enough to make an album, told you how things had changed. Occasionally participating (he was on Déjà Vu), but always from a distance – the funkier, scruffier neighbourhood of Topanga Canyon – the zealously independent Neil Young was the first to call bullshit when he saw things going wrong: the off-key, agonised howl of 1973’s Time Fades Away as perfect a summation of what the hippy dream had become as the songs on Déjà Vu were an expression of what it might have been.” Alexis Petridis via
“That was the first moment (1969) I’d ever seen James Taylor. The phone rang one day and it was [British record producer/manager] Peter Asher. And he said ‘Henry, I have this musician here, James Taylor, and we need a publicity picture’. So I went to the Peter’s house, and he opened the door and there was James, sitting just like that. He was playing a song called Oh Suzanah, fingerpicking. It sounded like a music box – as a musician, it blew my mind. I went over and just fell to my knees a little in front of him. And as I listened I started taking pictures. Later that day we went out to my friend Cyrus Faryar’s, who had this place called The Farm, a little commune with little sheds and barns there. And so we went out there to finish the day, taking photos, and one of those became the album cover for Sweet Baby James.” Photo by ©Henry Diltz
James Taylor reading a Kool-Aid packet (read: stoned) with Joni Mitchell on the porch of her Lookout Mountain cottage, 1971. Photo by © Joel Berstein. “My dining room looked out over Frank Zappa’s duck pond, and once when my mother was visiting, three naked girls were floating around on a raft in the pond. My mother was horrified by my neighborhood. In the upper hills the Buffalo Springfield were playing, and in the afternoon there was just a cacophony of young bands rehearsing. At night it was quiet except for cats and mockingbirds. It had a smell of eucalyptus, and in the spring, which was the rainy season then, a lot of wildflowers would spring up. Laurel Canyon had a wonderful distinctive smell to it.” ~ Joni Mitchell
2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard – Today it’s a grassy field (after having burnt to the ground in 1981) but in the late 1960s it was the site of Frank Zappa’s famous log cabin. The rustic home, built originally by Hollywood cowboy star Tom Mix, is where Zappa called home in 1968. It was also a veritable revolving door of rock and roll history. Zappa held all-night bacchanals with groupies such as the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) and Pamela Des Barres, once threw Mick Jagger out of his house for being an obnoxious drunk, Alice Cooper auditioned for Zappa’s record label there and got himself signed, and Mama Cass introduced Graham Nash to David Crosby and Stephen Stills there too. via
Canyon Country Store, ca. 1970. The Laurel Canyon Lizard King, Jim Morrison himself, lived right near the store with his girlfriend Pamela Courson in a cozy 3 bedroom bungalow built in 1922 on Rothdell Trail. Morrison referenced their pad in “Love Street” and the Canyon Country Store as, “the place where the creatures meet.”
“Elliot, David, and I migrated from New York to Los Angeles. David was my agent; Elliot was my manager. I bought this little house, and David Crosby chided me for it; he said I should have looked around. But I liked that house. The hill behind my house was full of little artificial man-made caves. The house was charming. I paid $36,000 for it, but I paid it off. I probably paid more for it because I paid it off. It had a fireplace and it was mysteriously protected by a force. My neighbors, who were six feet from my house, were junkies; I was out of town and came back and their house had burned down to the ground.” ~ Joni Mitchell | Photo by ©Henry Diltz
“This was going to be for Jackson Browne’s ‘Late for the Sky’ album, but it wasn’t in the end. The car was an old ’55 Chevy. The feet you can see pressed against the window are the girl’s who owned the car. That car was originally a present to Jackson from Glenn Frey of the Eagles. Jackson in turn gave it to an old girlfriend. We had to borrow the car for the afternoon and she was laying down in the back seat – you can see her feet.” Photo by © Henry Diltz
A young Linda Rondstadt photographed by Henry Diltz in fron of her Santa Monica home. The Eagles owe a lot to Rondstadt, as their original line-up of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon were first assembled as her backing band. Linda was generous enough to let Glenn take the mike on tour and sing lead on one of his own original songs. That ultimately lead to the birth of The Eagles. Glenn and Don decided they wanted to leave and form their own band. She was good to them, and they parted ways with no ill will, so the story goes. Frey and Henley always seemed to quickly move along to the next stepping stone, leaving sentimentality as a vehicle for their songs, not their lives.
“It’s no secret that when they came together they were Glenn’s band, although Don could sign anything he wrapped his voice around. We used to call Don ‘The Secret Weapon’ because he sat back there behind all those drums with his big fuzzy hair. It wasn’t that obvious, but that insanely beautiful voice, like 400 grain sandpaper, rough but fine, was incredible to hear– even if you didn’t know where it was coming from. Glenn was a great natural country singer, and a pretty good guitar player. He brought that R&B sensibility to the table with him, and kind of learned country along the way. And brilliantly. As for Randy, he was a very important component as well. It would never have been the same band without him. His singing on the high end is unlike any other sound. He also defined a style of songwriter-rooted bass playing, not unlike Paul McCartney. He always managed to make a nice melody underneath what the others were doing. And he could play light, with the tips of his fingers. The only other person I heard do that was Stephen Stills. And Bernie was one of the best and most overlooked guitar players around. All those great opening guitar riffs, in the beginning, came from Bernie. The great, grand opening of ‘Take it Easy,’ that’s Bernie Leadon. It was the combination that worked beautifully. Someone from East Texas, a guy from Detroit, another from the Central Plains. and one from Florida. There was nothing Southern California about that band. They were an all-American rock and roll outfit.” J.D. Souther
August 1973– Glenn Frey of The Eagles and a record promoter dude named Paul Ahern (buddies and roommates at the infamous “Kirkwood Casino and Health Club,” a named bestowed on their non-stop party pad ), sitting on the hood of Frey’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. The Eagles were the most popular band of the 1970s largely thanks to Ahern, a promoter for their record company who relentlessly and effectively pounded key radio stations in the major markets across the country getting them to play Eagles’ singles over and over and over and over. — Image by © Henry Diltz
I personally don’t have a lot to say about The Eagles. They always felt more “catchy” than sincere, if that makes sense. More about getting drunk, laid, and rich (which isn’t all bad), over artistic merit. But they were musically sound and highly proficient at cranking out radio hits based on Glenn Frey’s clever lyrics. Don Henley always had a better voice, and a drummer who was able to lead a band, so he’s pretty solid in that regard. Joe Walsh definitely gave the band character, rock ‘n’ roll legitimacy, and a much needed set of balls. I will say this for The Eagles– as a kid the lyrics were mesmerizing, laying out a storyline that deftly painted a picture in your head. I was a big fan of ‘storytelling songs’ back then– like Jim Croce, Three Dog Night, Johnny Cash, etc., and The Eagles had strong game. Do I own any of their music, or crave an Eagles fix ever? Not really, I feel like it’s in my head whenever (if ever) I need it. I’ve heard enough Eagles’ tunes to last several lifetimes. The Eagles didn’t want to blend into a SoCal scene, or any scene. Their sole ambition was always to achieve commercial success. To be a machine. The Eagles feel like oddballs in this lineup, and the end to that Laurel Canyon music era. While Joni Mitchell and CSN represent personal craft perfected on vinyl, The Eagles were the 8-track player in your shiny new hatchback Mercury Bobcat. Both good, just very different.
To be honest this truly makes me ill…
Grand banqueting halls, opulent lobbies and vast ballrooms; you could easily be forgiven for thinking this was a collection of photographs was documenting some of Europe’s grandest hotels. However, a closer look will reveal the majestic rooms to be engulfed in swathes of dust and moss; hotels that once hosted royals and high society abandoned to the elements.
This is the latest result of urban exploration photography, going beyond “no entry” signs to capture images of dilapidated buildings across Europe. IT worker Thomas Windisch, from Graz in Austria, indulged his passion for photography by traveling across the continent, visiting over 100 abandoned hotels along the way. (Caters News)
Photography by Thomas Windisch
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
As I read this…smiling due to being pulled here because ‘my friend’ Bebe Buell tweeted in regards…I felt the love for this time in fashion before I got to the page. My love began in NYC/Ct./ and the Catskills growing up in these parts was a magical time in fashion…the 60’s/70’s! I have never shaken it. I adore it. I love the culture, the art and the style of these times in my past and back to the early 1900’s!! Hoorah!! I am not a fad person…and don’t have to be. My ETSY shop has clothes from after 73 (when sold it will be the end of that…unless it is truly an amazing piece)…which made me giggle when I saw it mentioned in the article as a turning point…to me… this is the date I felt it started to change too! Rock on…Fashion is one of my passions!! JA/2015
What did the ’70s feel like? As recalled by Bebe Buell, a singer and onetime habitué of that fabled hipster magnet Max’s Kansas City: “Everybody’s eyelids were very heavy. I used to chuckle to myself, thinking, ‘That’s the cannabis eye, the quaalude eye’ — the look people get when they’re feeling no pain.”
What did the ’70s look like? “Stylistically, it was a free-for-all,” the designer Betsey Johnson said of the tangy stew defining the era, a jumble of Harlowesque evening frocks, belled sleeves, flared pants, belted suede and wildly patterned caftans. Fashion in that showily dissolute decade was silky and caressing, silhouettes fluid and bras a relic of a straitjacketed past. So goes the lore.
“It was like you were walking around naked, but you had clothes on,” said Phyllis Magidson, the curator of costumes and textiles at the Museum of the City of New York.
At the peak of that period, exalted in the popular mind as all that was kicky, inventive and louche, Ms. Magidson was in charge of wardrobe for soaps like “As the World Turns.” She recalled draping an actress in a slithery dress that exposed the outlines of her nipples. “She can’t wear that,” a sponsor huffed. So Ms. Magidson cast about for a way to make the star’s breasts less, well, perky. “I’d say to her, ‘Warm ’em up, honey.’ ”
Before long, though, the languid sensuality that was part of an aesthetic flowering extending roughly from 1967 to 1973 had pretty well run its course.
“Certain elements of the period — the garish prints and weird color combinations — keep repeating,” said Rebecca Arnold, a fashion historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. So-called ’70s style, Dr. Arnold added, is actually an aesthetic mash-up, one encompassing “sophisticated pantsuits, bohemianisms and a childlike play on the ’60s baby-doll look.” And that’s to say nothing of the slippery fabrics, folksy embroideries, jumpsuits and swingy little dresses that might have been at home amid the glitter and grit of Studio 54.
Those long-ago emblems of worldliness — and waywardness — have now returned in force, with designers scrambling to loosely resurrect an era that keeps spinning like a continuous reel in their heads. Aptly enough, Tom Ford, who in the 1990s rescued the ailing house of Gucci with a ’70s rock-infused collection, was prompt in his spring 2015 show to channel Bianca Jagger and other idols of the day, issuing a bell-bottom evening suit that conjured the dandyish regalia of Ms. Jagger’s tabloid days.
Chanel paid homage to the Charlie girl, “kinda young, kinda now,” with a bell-sleeve blouse and cropped wide-legged trousers, and Marc Jacobs offered a wide-sleeve camp shirt and loose pants covered somewhat subversively in a naïve-looking Liberty print. Rebecca Taylor offered a sweeping diaphanous maxi, Givenchy a studded leather vest, Gucci a supple suede trench that Lauren Hutton might have worn at the peak of her modeling career.
Who can help but plunder fashion’s past when its imagery is everywhere? The epoch was captured on film in “American Hustle” and, more recently, in “Inherent Vice,” the hemp-saturated reimagining of the Thomas Pynchon novel. It’s vividly present in rock memoirs like “Just Kids,” Patti Smith’s recollections of coming of age in downtown Manhattan, and in trips through the decade by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and by Joni Mitchell, muse to the designer Hedi Slimane, who highlighted the singer in his Saint Laurent spring marketing campaign.
A wealth of pop ephemera is but a click away on Pinterest boards that worship at the altar of Ali MacGraw, looking womanly-provocative in the plunging silk dress or suede trench coat she wore in “The Getaway”; or Marisa Berenson vamping for Vogue in high hippie caftans, turbans and multiple rings; or Lisa Taylor, legs splayed suggestively as she poses for Helmut Newton in a Calvin Klein dress.
Clearly the period retains an emotional pull. In retrospect, the decade that spawned the DVF wrap dress, maxi-coats worn over hot pants, and Ladies of the Canyon in battered jeans seems a garden of earthly delights.
“We didn’t have the consequences that we do for our actions today,” said the costume designer Mark Bridges, whose film credits include “Boogie Nights” and “Inherent Vice.” “People smoked without pause; you made out with who you wanted to; and on all fronts we were in an experimentation mode. Why not? The stakes weren’t as high.”
That age before AIDS and drastic budget shortfalls, Dr. Arnold said, “seems like the most exciting period of decadence ever. There’s an element of the ’70s that can still seem somewhat outré, kind of glamorous, but a little bit sleazy as well. It’s got an edge to it.”
Small wonder it’s catnip to a generation that has yet to evolve a seminal style of its own. Doris Raymond, the owner of the Los Angeles vintage emporium the Way We Wore, who is featured on “L.A. Frock Stars,” a Smithsonian Channel reality series, finds in the work of designers today echoes of ’70s fashion sensations like Ossie Clark, Halston and Thea Porter.
The decade’s persistent allure may owe a debt to Mom as well. “Most designers now in the driver’s seat had mothers who were at their fashion peak in the ’70s,” said David Wolfe, the creative director of the Doneger Group, a trend-forecasting agency. “They are doing what Dior did when he did the New Look as homage to his own mother.”
True, quite a few contemporary tastemakers (the gallery includes Stella McCartney, whose mother, Linda, recorded tunes with her husband, Paul, and photographed the leading pop stars of the time, and Phoebe Philo of Céline, her mother a graphic artist) experienced the ’70s secondhand, through their mothers’ wardrobes.
But fashion’s reflexive return to the ’70s goes deeper, and is part of a generalized recycling trend that dates, some say, to the midcentury at least. “Instead of being about itself, the 2000s has been about every other previous decade happening again all at once,” the British music journalist Simon Reynolds wrote in “Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past.” He notes that fashion, like music, now attempts to capture “a simultaneity of pop time that abolishes history while nibbling away at the present’s own sense of itself.”
In the book, Mr. Reynolds argues that the tendency to mine vanished eras has only accelerated since 1964, the year that marked the advent of the Biba store in London. Tricked out like an Edwardian opium den, the shop enshrined the totems of a bygone day — feathery boas, peacock feathers, piano shawls and the like — marketing them to a style-besotted public as never hipper or more “now.”
But the plumbing of the retro well, and the ’70s in particular, reached a frenzy, Mr. Reynolds goes on, “when designers like Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui ransacked the styles of previous epochs almost as soon as they ended.” As he argues, fashion now “is about changes but not Change in the sense of progress.”
Change, after all, can be at odds with commerce, a concept few designers have embraced as vigorously as Mr. Slimane. A proven master at issuing biker jackets, fringed skirts and other signifiers of old-style rebellion, he has put forth a look so reassuringly familiar both to those who experienced the decade firsthand and to their spiritual offspring, that it was, in hindsight, calculated to make registers ring.
“Slimane gives his consumers thoroughly digestible fashion, perfectly executed,” Robin Mellery-Pratt wrote this month in a Business of Fashion post, citing 2014 financial results reported by the parent company Kering, which demonstrate that while Saint Laurent leather goods and shoes are performing robustly, its ’60s- and ’70s-inflected ready-to-wear has been the fastest growing of any category, surging ahead by 23 percent last year.
It’s hard to argue with a strategy that so deftly conjures the spirit of sexual brashness and youth. “I put on a ’70s dress, and it changes the energy that I exude,” Ms. Raymond of the Way We Wore said. “Who doesn’t want that flower-emblazoned little dress that makes you feel young again?”
Having never heard of this talented, gorgeous and witty performer until yesterday I had no idea what I was missing!! ENJOY…!! JA/2015