The '70s emerged from the tumultuous social and political changes of the middle to late '60s as the decade of individual expresson or the Me Decade. Dress as a symbol of that self-expression became the most important factor in fashion, as women found inspiration in a wider variety of sources than in any other period in the century.
Politics, gender, ethnic cultures, inflation, the environment, crafts, nostalgia, sex, and music all played important roles in defining the many and varied looks of the decade. "Anything goes" was the motto of the day, and anyhting did.
The women's movement inspired two disparate fashion trends: the very feminine "granny" or "prarie" look, and the masculine style epitomized by Dianne Keaton in the film Annie Hall. The ethnic trend that had begun in the late '60s continued to be popular in both street fashion and haute couture; designers such as Yves Saint-Laurent, James Galanos, and Issey Miyake were inspired by traditional costume from worldwide sources. The crafts revival created demand for one-of-a-kind clothing that was filled by Zandra Rhodes, originally a textile designer, and Mary McFadden, who both experimented with silk-screening and hand-applied wax-resist techniques. The fitness craze and glamour of the California ideal that made stars out of Jane Fonda and Farah Fawcett inspired sporty and body-conscious clothing epitomized by the designs of Halston.
By the end of the '70s, couturiers had created an atmosphere of eclecticism and postmodernism that revolutionized fashion for the remainder of the century.