Someone confided in me recently that this autumn is all about “Seventies luxe”. Although I nodded my head conspiratorially, I hadn’t a clue what they were on about. “Seventies luxe” sounds like something that might give you heartburn (acid reflux with flares). However, we’ve all got used to fashion designers plundering decades past and repackaging a period that we don’t recall as being particularly endearing in the first place, and the Seventies is definitely one of those.
My style memories from then, jogged by a few family photographs, is looking very grumpy, circa 1975, dressed in dark brown shorts, matching giant-collared shirt, long beige socks and a very strange side parting; and a couple of years later looking equally furious in a bright blue Esso anorak that I’m sure my stepfather had secured with petrol tokens at the local garage.
But looking through the autumn/winter collections – most of which are already up for grabs – I had to reign in my prejudices. Believe it or not, the Seventies produced some very covetable clobber – it’s just that as a small child I clearly never got to see much of it. If you don’t believe me, I’m going to give you a task for the weekend: a list of three very different movies that you need to watch to get you in the mood. I guarantee, by the end of the first one, you’ll be wishing for summer to end and the sleet to start – as they kept warning in HBO’s Game of Thrones earlier this summer, “Winter is Coming”. It was meant to sound threatening, but every time Sean Bean uttered those words and stared out menacingly over the castle tenements, all I could think about was coloured corduroys from Bottega Veneta, sheepskin coats from Gucci and Fair Isle knits from Raf Simons. Wrong, I know.
The movie I’m going to suggest you watch first, and the one that you’ll be most disturbed by, is the 1970 weepie, Love Story. Your hackles will immediately rise as you recall first the film’s catchphrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, and then the cloying soundtrack. But bear with me. In the interest of research, I watched Love Story again last night and was pleasantly surprised: there are some very stylish, man-friendly moments. First, is Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) Barrett IV’s beautiful racing green MG TC; second is the delectable Ali MacGraw (who eventually left Love Story’s producer, Robert Evans, for Steve McQueen) and the third is Barrett IV’s wardrobe. The latter provides a welcome distraction from the tragic storyline. So here’s what O’Neal wears and I suggest you do, too, this autumn:
1. Fitted sheepskin coat (the slim line shape keeps it well away from Del Boy territory and Gucci has an almost exact replica this autumn).
2. A pale blue shirt worn underneath a moss green crewneck sweater (a genius colour combination.
3. A camel sweater worn underneath a grey Prince of Wales check sports jacket (Alexander McQueen) paired with jeans.
4. A grey herringbone coat with camel lining.
5. Big bold and long stripy wool scarf, and stripy beanie hat.
6. Black leather aviator jacket with sheepskin collar (Yves Saint Laurent) worn over a red plaid shirt (Woolrich).
7. Cream Aran knit sweater (Burberry Prorsum) and sand-coloured cords.
8. A fitted double-breasted wool navy suit worn with pale blue shirt, navy spotted silk tie, finished off with a navy and white striped silk pocket square.
Now if that leaves you feeling a little too preppy (and “preppy” is what MacGraw sneeringly calls O’Neal’s Harvard law student all the way through the movie), then rent instead a copy of The Deer Hunter — much more grrrr and manly. Made eight years after Love Story, it has Robert De Niro, lots of denim, plaid shirts (Aspesi), big checked lumber jackets (Burberry Prorsum), hiking boots (go for those by Diemme) and goose-down gilets. And finally, in order to a add a sprinkling of metropolitan sophistication to the visceral, woodland-based grunts of De Niro and co, dig out a copy of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. The 1977 film was the soundtrack to Junya Watanabe’s fashion show and, miraculously, managed to successfully mix fashion and Allen with a fusion of fitted Fair Isle knit jackets, suede elbow patches on utility coats and check tweed jackets.
So there you have it. Three films from the 1970s and your autumn/winter 2011 wardrobe organised. Who knew all you needed was a bag of popcorn to help you discover the new season’s trends? Now, aside from The Human Centipede 2, I’ll try and come up with three films that’ll make the weekly trip to Morrison’s a little more tempting.
Jeremy Langmead is the editor-in-chief of MR PORTER