This collection of vintage 70's fashion photos was acquired from the estate of South African-born Gloria Gross. Gloria was a fashion designer, book illustrator and graphic artist. In 1965 she arrived in London, at the time a magnet attracting talent from around the world.
Design work in the UK, Europe and Japan built her reputation. In the early 1970’s she was designing clothing for men including international celebrities Sean Connery, Sammy Davis Jr., Marcello Mastroianni, Marcel Marceau and Tiny Tim. Her most influential and memorable designs were for legendary singer Tom Jones.
Along with the other designers featured in this collection, Gloria was part of the “new school” of fashion that began in the late 60s (as distinguished from the “old” classic fashion like Dior and Chanel). The focus: “wearable” clothes. The emphasis: simplicity and minimalism.
The new school designers glorified the tall, lean figure. Turtlenecks, slim-fitting shirts and jackets, capes and tight-fitting flared pants all contributed to the silhouette. Long hair was ubiquitous.
Impacted by the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements, the other hot trend of 70s men’s fashion was a more gender-neutral expression.
To understand how revolutionary this was, consider the historical context. After WWII men returned from military service anxious to fit in, to be identified with the establishment.
In the 1950s, the age of conformity, individual style was almost exclusively the domain of women’s wear. For men, fashion consisted of a gray flannel suit, white button-down shirt, skinny tie and hat. The 60's changed all that, and the 1970's took it to new levels.
Besides Gloria, the designers in this collection are all European: Bert Zuiderveen, Haarlem; Massimo Datti, Rome; Miguel Diaz, Barcelona; Ruben Torres, Paris; and Christopher Franck, Denmark. Photographers are Jurgen Kriewald and Erik Skriver.
Most of the photos were part of a 1972 show organized by the International Institute for Cotton and include credits and descriptions taped to the verso. They’re all black and white, ranging in size from 7 1/2" x 9 1/4" to 9 1/2" x 11 ¾."