Styles of the Seventies settle in for next winter

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The Independent Online
PREPARE to meet thy past. The rerun of Seventies dressing is not just a passing trend that will be over by the end of the summer. The Milan shows for autumn and winter 1993 opened yesterday with a vivacious display of Seventies style reworked by Dolce E Gabbana.

The duo reminded us of garments that had not yet come up to the light in the current trawl through the decade dubbed 'the one that style forgot'. Some reworkings were fun to see again: trouser suits cut high and tight worked well, but wisps of dresses attached to spaghetti straps and cut straight across the bust looked awful then and look like nothing on earth today.

Remember Oxford bags? Out they came in mannish chalk stripes or in glam-rock garnet velvet. Remember puffed 'leg o' mutton' sleeves? Back they came to soften pin-striped tailored jackets. Remember Gipsy Rose Lee scarves? Dolce E Gabbana cut them up and made long floppy dresses and trouser suits from mismatched pieces.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana admit to spending most of their free time scanning old movies on their video at home. This time around, their viewing had been eclectic. The Artful Dodger walked out of Oliver in an Edwardian clerk's coat, flat boots and tartan trews. Eliza Doolittle wore rich purple velvet complete with floppy fabric violets at her throat.

Influences also came from around the globe, just as they did in the Seventies, when people piled on the spoils of hippie trail travels, junkshop finds and antique clothes. Yesterday, tartan turned up roughly patched to make jackets. Floor- length highwaymen's velvet coats and cloaks added swagger, while wispy Twenties flapper dresses with fluted hems signalled another mood. The difference from the originals - besides the fact that the Dolce E Gabbana versions are well cut in fabric that won't scratch - will be the prices.

Dolce E Gabbana's military coat is not army surplus and the army boots are black patent. Devotees will want jackets that look like they have been made out of Turkish carpets and scraps of brocade, while those too young to care about skilfully cut, flattering clothes will find cheap and cheerful rip-offs in no time. Dolce E Gabbana's summer patchwork jacket, one of the big hits of the last Milan season, is already available in a smart copy at London's Camden Lock market for pounds 45.

(Photograph omitted)