How to get your 1970s fashion tips: go to Vinyl

Vinyl is a decadent trip through New York city in 1973 and compulsory viewing for style fans. Here are 5 ways the TV show nails the looks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 February, 2016, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 February, 2016, 11:56am

Vinyl, Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger’s drama about the music business is set in New York in 1973. As such, it’s very fashionable. It’s got cult cool, with the beginnings of disco, punk and hip hop. It’s Andy Warhol, it’s Patti Smith, it’s Max’s Kansas City, it’s boys dressed as girls and girls-in-leather-jacket bands. It’s the year the World Trade Centre and CBGBs opened, it’s pre-gentrification and there was a sort of no-one’s-looking permissiveness. With the city running a US$3 billion budget deficit by 1975, New York’s decaying buildings and abandoned warehouses allowed all sorts of scenes and styles to develop. Vinyl, the story of a record label, its stars and coke-addled execs, touches on a lot of them. Like Mad Men meets American Hustle, here are five things it tells us about fashion’s current favourite era.

READ MORE: In Vinyl, Jagger and Scorsese expose the madness and passion inside the record industry

It’s the sweet spot where punk and disco meet

Juno Temple, who plays sandwich girl (aka drug administrator) Jamie Vine, is a good point of reference here. In her ambitions to move to her desired position in the A&R department, she deftly moves across all the scenes around the city. In the first episode, she goes to a punk gig wearing a leather jacket and loads of silver eyeliner, and enjoys an encounter with Kip Stevens (aka James Jagger). Then she’s off to a loft party in an appropriate – and fabulous – red satin jumpsuit and cropped faux fur. Special mention for Jagger’s resemblance to Richard Hell, with his cockney accent and T-shirt with a rip at the neckline.

There’s a leftover hippy vibe

However you dress it up – call it bohemian if you want – fashion has a soft spot for hippy style. Olivia Wilde’s Devon, the long-suffering wife of record exec Richie Finestra, provides it here with an impressive array of kaftans. They’re worn with oversized sunglasses and long hair, for a jet set version of a Woodstock look. This suits, whether you’re having a Rachel Zoe moment or thinking of how Kate Moss might accessorise for her next winter sun getaway.

It always brings the party

The ’70s were, as even the most entry-level student of pop culture knows, the era of disco. And a lot of that happened in New York. It became a centre of in-the-know hedonism at private parties like the Loft , which began in DJ David Mancuso’s apartment in Soho.

READ MORE: Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese on helping create HBO series Vinyl

The opening scene of Vinyl sees Finestra snort cocaine off his own car mirror, chopped up with a policeman’s business card. He then follows a group of outlandishly dressed boys and girls into a party in an abandoned building, walks past someone on a staircase performing oral sex and watches a performance by a New York Dolls-style band. That is New York in the ’70s as far as modern pop culture is concerned.

The collars are impressive

Sometimes it’s less about mood, and more about the clothes. If fashion loves the ’70s, it’s Gucci ’s Alessandro Michele who is the biggest retro geek. He would love the tailoring in Vinyl, those oversized collars once worn by all men without a whisper of irony. Richie’s suits are all about big – collar, lapels, trouser legs – and worn with the open neck and gold chain. Ato Essandoh’s casual look as Lester Grimes – polo shirts rather than crisp cotton – is more wearable in 2016. Grace Wales Bonner had similar styles in her most recent collection at London Fashion Week.

It predated our idea of am-to-pm dressing

Vinyl provides a study of the decade’s office style. The headquarters of record company American Century is in a high-rise, it has a smoking policy and loads of boardrooms with big glossy tables. The clothes are awesome. Who doesn’t want to work somewhere where men can wear patchwork jackets and neckerchiefs and women are in high sandals, flares and puff sleeves? Anyone who discounts ’70s daywear is clearly not reading the fashion memo properly.