Can't you think of some new ideas?

Fashion for the new millennium? Why, it's the Seventies, re-re- revisited. JAMES SHERWOOD despairs

No more, I can't take it. Fashion has finally taken recycling over the edge. After 10 years of shamelessly pillaging the history books, designers have chosen the reference to take us into Y2K and - guess what? It's the Seventies! Yes, kids, it's time to get down and boogie in flares, crochet beanie hats and platform boots. Sound familiar? It should do - the Seventies have had more Nineties revivals than John Travolta.

In his new autumn/ winter collection, American designer Marc Jacobs presented a homage to Ali MacGraw in Love Story: sloppy sweaters, knitted beanie hats and 6ft striped cashmere scarves, all lovingly recreated in Vogue. British style magazine i-D meanwhile chose an afro wigged-out Marsha Hunt doppelganger as its covergirl for August. Last year's Seventies style icons - Bianca Jagger and Cher - have been replaced with different, ropier ones - Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow and Barbra Streisand.

Is this the best fashion can do? Are we to understand that after a thousand years of fashion history, the ultimate style icon is Barbra Streisand? Barbra had her style-diva day way before she got a bubble perm for 1976's A Star is Born. And while I've got nothing against Ali MacGraw, her stripey knitted scarf in Love Story - longer than the M25 - is more Dr Who than millennial muse.

"We can't seem to let the Seventies go," says a cheerful Suzanne Costas, designer of Seventies-inspired boot-cut denim collection Earl Jeans (currently selling out in Harvey Nichols, Whistles and funky Soho boutique Shop). "I think we hold on to the Seventies as a reference because it was the time most of us grew up."

Certainly Chloe designer Stella McCartney repeatedly names her mother Linda as an inspiration. One of her earliest memories is seeing Linda McCartney wearing Chloe originals in the Seventies, and the result is the hippy rock chick look all over her collection. We all love Linda of course, but as a fashion icon? Not likely.

Stateside muses also lose a little in translation when US designers are inspired by unlikely Seventies references. When Isaac Mizrahi ceased trading in 1998, a critic at the New York Times said, "Frankly, American women don't want to dress like Mary Tyler Moore". Neither do British twenty- somethings want to dress like our answer to MTM - Wendy Craig in Butterflies. America may remember the Seventies as disco, Cher and Halston but we British are more inclined to remember Lambrusco, Demis Roussos and Jeff Banks.

It's the difference between memory, which looks backwards, and imagination, which creates its own futuristic space. The basic problem is that the designers who are pushing Seventies retro - McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford - are the peer group of their core market: fashion is taking them back to their Seventies childhood in a bizarre form of sartorial regression therapy. Normal people - the ones who wear the clothes - just remember fags behind the bike sheds, getting pissed on cider and smoking their first Silk Cut. Revamping the ravamp of the Seventies is all very ironic, but it's also inherently sad - like trying to re-release "Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Cheap" for 2000 - and lazy, as Paco Rabanne pointed out last week (see Why Are They Famous?, right).

It's also frustrating for the punters, many of whom have lost patience. "I've had enough of dressing like my mother," says Karen Wilder, 29. "Why can't we move on? The utility look has tried hard, but we always end up going back to hippy chic. Fashion magazines these days look generic. I've seen the images a thousand times before."

What fashion needs is some new style icons. Granted, August Vogue put Nathalie Portman on the cover, but touted as the "new" Audrey Hepburn. Audrey is eternal but it's time new stars are allowed to just "be" without being compared to dead fashion divas.

Fashion needs a new identity. But none of the magazines are going to help by saying that this latest Seventies revival stinks. Prada's autumn/ winter 2000) show was an ugly and extreme take on the Seventies, and ill- received. But as an anonymous London fashion source says, "Prada is one of the major magazine advertisers. Every international fashion magazine will get behind the Seventies re-revival whether they like it or not."

Fashion needs its references. Designers need their inspiration. But why so literal? When references are too obvious, the punter will call the designer's bluff and find her own alternative. Such is the hype surrounding the big houses that doubtless Marc Jacobs' cashmere scarves will be coiled around the most fashionable necks. But fashion deja vu is an underwhelming and, yes, disappointing response to where design is going in the Y2K.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

    KS1 Teacher

    £95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

    Upper KS2 Teacher

    £120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Upper Key Stage 2 teacher ...

    English Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day + ?110 - 130: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments