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The "Sophisticated 70's" on Project Runway

By October 12, 2011

If you're a regular Project Runway viewer, you know something's going down when series regular and resident design "den mother", Tim Gunn shows up in the work room with a special guest. Last week it was Heather Archibald, a buyer at popular online retailer, Piperlime. Archibald is there to introduce the week's challenge. "One of the trends we're totally obsessed with is the revival of the sophisticated 70's," she begins, before breaking down exactly what colors and pieces constitute a "sophisticated 70's" look.

The 70's color story, at least according to former Trinidadian beauty queen and judge favorite, includes burgundy, browns, and mustard. Other descriptions highlighted big booming wide leg trousers, silky tie front tops the polyester maxi dresses and lots of plaid. Indeed, this does not sound very modern. But that was exactly the challenge: to take these inspirations and make them wearable for today. Gunn cautions the designers against going too literal with their interpretations. "Not vintage," he says, "not retro....".

This was a similar challenge to the week before, when the designers were asked to create new onstage looks for a folksy rock band. The catwalk cried that day. The hopefuls put those poor chaps in more fringe than every band that performed at Woodstock put together twice over.


Sophisticated '70's proved far more inspiring for the designers. The winning outfit was created by the aforementioned Anya: a wide leg jumpsuit with a plunging neckline, and sheer back. The best thing about it, however, was a wickedly, earthily geometric print. Along with fellow contestant Bert's two-toned Grecian-style study in sartorial simplicity, the jumpsuit was sold [out] on Piperlime's website in no time. Really, both are gone. That doesn't mean that vintage shops all over the world aren't stocking up on the originals--especially when it comes to jumpsuits! Stay tuned!

If you've not yet seen this episode, check it out on Bravo's website.

Photo courtesy of Piperlime


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