1972 • Far East Influence

There was an oriental or far east fashion trend in the 70s with a “Chinese” influence. According to sources, this trend was the result of a new interest in China following President Nixon’s visit to the country in 1972 and the growing normalization of relations between China and the West.

A 1972 fashion magazine dealt with this trend in one of its spreads. Shown here are six of the pages from this spread. The commentary are below each picture.

Oriental influence for clothes – does that mean giving up great dresses and pants and tops and switching over to long kimonos and fancy silk pajamas? Not at all! It’s just more pants and tops and dresses, but this time with the feel of the Far East. It’s primary colors and nature prints, quilted jackets and easy wrap arounds. It’s the line of a peasant blouse here, the sleeve of a kimono there. Mostly, it’s the oriental look you like, the way you want to wear it. Point in case: This open-backed Indian blouse (which is authentic) has a princess bodice, could go with jeans, dress pants or skirt. By Like Me; about $9. KJL Necklace. The brightest flowers bloom on a short kimono dress with obi sash. By Cottager; about $16. Therese Aherns flower. Shoes with Chinese characters: Charm Step.

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Tea is to the Oriental as Coke is to you and me. “I was more expecting a girl with bound feet in traditional costume,” he will say, when you offer him the steaming cup. “Times change,” you will reply. Most untraditional: wide-legged tablecloth-checked pants and matching full-sleeved top. (Where can this “oriental” look be found? On Americans passing through.) By Charlie’s Girls; pants about $16, top about $14. Green and gold demon pin (it’s actually two inches high) by Trifari. Lady Arrow red and white tattersall shirt (on the girl in the window) with trim stand-up collar; about $15.

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Some people believe all oriental clothes look the alike – not so! Although it is true that half an hour after you buy some, you want to go shopping again. Some of the reasons why? Quilting, the East-West way. The red and black apple-print smock jacket, at far left, comes with red gabardine twill pants. By Clobber; about $40. The high collar coolie jacket is navy with red and yellow flowers. By Lassie Junior; about $45. Like the Chinese worker suit? Try the American version at left; navy denim with red frog closing at mandarin collar. Matching roll up jeans. By Juniorite; about $25. Thongs by Miller Eye. The oriental layer, below: bright, traditional sweater with a waist that looks like a sash, worn over a voile oriental print shirt of birds and flowers. (You add the chopsticks.) The sweater by Jap; about $26. Shirt by Trafalgar Square Ltd.; about $12.

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It’s not for nothing oriental women got their reputation for looking great. Consider this Indian-inspired top and skirt, above left, that bares the midriff. The blouse ties at the side, the ankle-length skirt just gives the illusion of being a wrap. In indigo blue, white and gold print. By Flo Toronto; about $48. Buddha necklace by Sandor. Delicate chambray smock, center, with gauze yoke, watercolor-like floral inset. By Gratz Université; about $48. Checked obi by Ruza. Elephant necklace (it really is about two inches high) by KJL. Rough woven cotton side-wrap dress, right, comes with a separate turtleneck top. By Razzle Dazzle; about $35.

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Ecology is nothing new to the Far East – people there have treasured the earth longer than we’ve had a civilization. Their colors are the colors of growing, living things – and they’ve been consistently crazy about plants and flowers. Oriental flower power: a short gutsy side-wrap dress, above left, with a mandarin collar that opens to a sexy V. By Vicky Vaughn; about $22. Puddle-stepping clogs by Famolare. Sleep in it or play in it; the long, clingy high-waisted dress at right is for at home or out of doors. By Maidenform; about $17. Peter Dubaux heart. House of Joy monk-in-a-temple pin (on table).

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More outdoor flavor; wide-waisted kimono dress, left, comes colored in a smoky blue and white nature print. By Mix One; about $28. Bracelets by Willie Woo. Soft, blended flowers dominate a long, lean T-shirt dress, right, but there’s a bit of contrast at the neck. By Lanz of Salzburg; about $23. What would an Asian farmer do without his trusty overblouse? What would you? The red and blue smock, inset left, is crossed with bamboo, touched with flowers. By Tribes; about $12. Inset right, a plaid jacket with patch pockets that matches up to wide cuffed pants. (Pants not shown.) By Susan Petites; about $24.

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