The Age of Aquarius: A 70s revolution

The 1970s were a time of social upheaval, with many questioning the values of the society they lived in. Change was afoot and reached into all forms of cultural expression, including what we wore and how our clothes were being made and sold. The Age of Aquarius exhibition showcases the wardrobes of six very different individuals and the diversity of fashion-making during that decade.

The weekend wardrobe of civil servant, Geoffrey Bailey, the working wardrobe of hotelier, Eloise Watts, the 'best' wardrobe of lab technician and new mother, Kathie Figgins, the eclectic wardrobe of twenty-something girl about town, Rachel Stace, the self sewn wardrobe of dressmaker, Zora Price and the evolving wardrobe of schoolgirl, Anita Arlov, represent the many and diverse garments of the era. These individuals represent many of the trends that were prevalent in the 1970s - flares, platforms, hand-painted muslin, crushed velvet, embroidered jeans and op-shop frocks; everything in shades of orange, brown and purple.

Other garments were added to illustrate the changes that were occuring in the garment manufacturing industry. Alongside established manufacturers new types of making and selling were emerging. One off styles, the use of craft and customisation were popular strategies with aspiring designers who made and sold their work at the markets that were opening in the cities, and in small boutiques that were popping up in back alleyways and basements.

By the end of the era it was widely accepted that different styles of clothing and of making and retailing could co-exist and that it was possible for everyone to choose clothes that expressed their individuality.

Curated by Doris de Pont.

Supported by Purfex, For Lease, Waitemata Local Board, Apparel Line, Big Colour, Karakter, Designer Rugs, GreenAir, Tohu Wines.

Watch a video of the Age of Aquarius: A 70s revolution exhibition.

Garments in the exhibition

When & where

14 September - 13 October 2013

The Geyser Building, Auckland

15 February - 11 May 2014

Rotorua Museum, Rotorua

15 November 2014 - 1 February 2015

The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt