Discotheques of the 1970’s


The night was filled with anticipation. Swift as gazelles, many women were in bedazzled outfits and walked in heels. The men were in collared jackets and smelled of cologne. A big sign hung above the club building with the number 54 on it. Exciting music was played on the record player. Little by little, couples trailed inside following by the other guests. As an hour passed, two rows lined in between dancers going across the room. It was the beginning of a new type of hang out and culture movement.
During the mid 1970’s, an urban area in New York opened The Loft. The minority of those in the LGTB community would seek solace from day-to-day bullying and police brutality. Many DJ’s began to spread “upbeat funk” music which introduced string-sections, electric piano, horns, saxophone, and alternating bass. Radio stations across the U.S played music from notable artists: KC And The Sunshine Band, Bee Gees, Chic, Abba, Earth, Wind, And Fire, Kool And The Gang, and Donna Summer.
The fashion icons were Cher, Donna Summer, Marie and Donny Osmond, Gloria Gaynor, Jerry Hall, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Elton John, Diana Ross, and Lionel Richie.
Hair for both men and women was feathered and replicated angel halos or “chandelier layers.” The top icon for this popular hairstyle was Farrah Fawcett. Meanwhile, the “afro” style that was introduced in the 1960’s settled into the disco era from Angela Davis and The Jackson 5. Both women and men of color sported afros or braids.
When it came to fashion, outfits had all sorts of patterns, sequins, and colors. This was known as the “Peacock Revolution.” The more mainstream colors were blue, red, green, fuschia, silver, gold, and purple. These kinds of clothes were carried from the 1960’s explored with flower and paisley landscapes. Iridescent and glittery fabrics became popular incited by the glam atmosphere inside discotheques.
Makeup was to compliment both the face and the disco club ambiance. Popular colors were blue or yellow for eyes and could be glittery or matte. To go with a dewy, tan complexion: light pink and coral blush was applied. Popular lip colors were magenta pink, baby pink, red, deep wine purple, and usually topped with gloss.
Women either dressed up in mini (known as “moxi”) or flowing dresses. Pant suits were also worn as an echo of the Edwardian era. Bell bottom pants could reflect ceiling lights and mirror balls. Men wore wide-leg bell bottom pants or simply leisure suits. Long sleeve shirts were collared. Turtlenecks were worn under vests or with an ascot tie.
The more well-known clubs that took the world by storm were The Loft, The Saint, Tenth Floor, 12 West, Studio 54, Max’s Kansas City, Nell’s Nightclub, Dancerteria, Infinity, Flamingo, and Le Jardin. According to a 2011 article by Tim Lawerence “The queer make-up of disco culture was grounded in its sexually mixed demographic base in New York private party and public discotheque venues.” A majority of those who went night-clubbing were middle class, heterosexual , and white. But most races were welcomed as well as the growing hype lasted into the 1980s, being regular hang-outs.