The late 20th century is part of the recent past. Although not all remember the trends and fashions of the era, the designers that were active then are still active today. The designers that we love, Gucci, YSL, Burberry, Prada, Miu Miu, to name a few, have been active for a long time, most long before the late 20th century. However, it was only as the century was coming to a close that high fashion became accessible and diverse. Now, most designers make clothes as well as a range of other accessories. That means that it is now possible to pick and stick to a favorite designer.
The 1970s were a decade that saw the end of the hippie style and the arrival of the disco era. The look became more structured and chic. This is a decade when Kenzo Takada and Sonia Rykiel came to prominence. Kenzo created combined fantastical prints with fluid lines that were immensely popular. Rykiel was the first designer to use reversed seams and to create clothes that were very distinctive and unique yet, at the same time, right for most occasions.
In the 70s, as well as toward the end of the 60s, male fashion entered popular culture. Before that time, men were not supposed to pay attention to their looks, thus making designs for men practical than stylish. In the 70s, men started to feel comfortable with fashion and caring about the way they looked.
In the 1980s, fashion became international big business. Western fashion designers became popular all over the world. Designers from outside the Western world became prominent as well. The 80s were a power decade marked by affluence. The clothes and hair became big and futuristic as large shoulder pads and bold designs were becoming increasingly popular. The fashions came hand in hand with baby boomers that were present in the workforce at that time either at their peak power or just starting to climb the career ladders. This is a generation that felt strong and wanted power and freedom. The fashion shows of the decade echoed the mood; these were huge spectacles, televised and always extravagant.
The economic recession at the beginning of the 1990s changed fashion again. The flamboyance of the 70s and the big clothes of the 80s were gone. The 90s were marked by minimalism and diversity. There was no unifying style anymore, but the styles that were fashionable were fairly simple. The 1990s are the decade that saw the birth of the Miu Miu house, the first Lady Dior handbag and the first Fendi baguette handbag, which are truly great legacies of a fashion era.