Fashion Drawing & Illustration: 1970s
The 1970s were a pioneering decade, and saw the evolution of fashion into a proclamation of individuality. Seen as the reflection of the taste of the wearer, one of the consequences of these sartorial changes, was that fashion increasingly, became the concern of men as well as women.
Ritva and Patrick Caulfield
The Ritva knitwear firm was set up by Mike and Ritva Ross in 1966, producing revolutionary machine-knitted womenswear in bold colours and slinky shapes. These were sold in some of the most fashionable department stores and King's Road boutiques, and from 1972, in the Ross's own shop.
A new direction in men's knitwear came in 1969 when Mike Ross designed a line of appliquéd 'Ritva Man's' sweaters inspired by baseball shirts (the V&A collection includes a prototype, Museum no. T.14-2000). Each sweater was unique, with its own colourway.
This led to the Artist Collections of 1971 and 1972, when Ross invited artist friends, including David Hockney and Elizabeth Frink, to design 'wearable works of art'.
Artist Patrick Caulfield's (1936-2005) 'Manly Sweater', with its appliquéd leather patches and 'trompe l'oeil' pipe, is an ironic version of traditional 1950s masculinity. The V&A has also acquired Caulfield's original drawings for the sweater and seen together these represent an unusual document of a collaboration between art and fashion.
This coloured pencil drawing on paper includes an element of collage. One smaller piece of paper with a single drawing is mounted on a larger piece of paper with further drawings. Drawings depict various versions of a pipe and breast pocket. One breast pocket drawing also depicts an image of a bird. Some annotations on black pencil, including the artist's name and title 'P C Manly sweater'.
A prolific and innovative designer, John Bates (b.1938) often incorporated metallic, plastic and transparent fabrics in his creations. He is perhaps best remembered as the designer of Diana Rigg's wardrobe for the television series The Avengers in 1965.
1) This 1978 dress in silk is an interesting design with square shoulders and blouson body and an intricate cut full skirt. There is a tie belt around the waist and the sleeves have flare cuffs similar to the high collar.
2) This 1974 design is for a long printed Kaftan with an undulated bottom. The sides are finished with tassels. The print is particularly beautiful and individual you can see the detail of stylised flowers and birds. This is complemented by edge stitching around the Kaftan. The exotic element to this design makes it particularly striking.
A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Zandra Rhodes (b.1940) became famous for her prints on chiffon, and her use of flamboyant, bright colours. Her designs were considered too extravagant by British manufacturers and she set up her own retail outlet on Fulham Road, London, in 1969. Rhodes' extravagant appearance and style often attracted considerable publicity. She is credited with having introduced Punk fashions to the fashion industry with her 1977 collection entitled Punk Chic.
Bill Gibb (1943–88) was a fashion designer whose creations defined the 1970s look. He opened his boutique Alice Paul in Kensington in 1967 and first designed for the youth market, with clean lines that bore the imprint of contemporary trends. In the 1970s, his style developed along eclectic and romantic lines inspired by the hippie scene and by medieval and pre-Raphaelite painting.
1) This is a fashion design for a long pleated skirt, long-sleeved blouse, laced jerkin and cloche hat, with two fabric samples attached. This design featured in Vogue in 1970, and the Sunday Times amongst other magazines. This design shows how different wool fabrics are used with contrast colour and pattern.
2) Jacket design with beret.
3) This is a design for a printed leather and suede pattern jacket with a hood. The Patterns seem influenced by ethnic designs. Other designs in the later 70s started to use a mixture of different fabrics and colour, for example leather with chiffon) This design is a good example of how leather was processed in a more fashionable and colourful way during this period.