It was the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg who first saw the power of flowers as a symbol of peace, while organising a protest against the Vietnam war in 1965. And the motif was soon embraced by the growing hippy counterculture and adopted as the cornerstone, not only of their beliefs but of their whole aesthetic – adorning everything from clothes and cars to cover-art and kitchenwares. Not to mention, of course, those tumbling hippy hairdos.
Flowers in the hair, don’t care
No flower child of the ‘70s was complete without flowers in her hair. Think cascading waves casually strewn with daisies (for that just-romped-in-a-meadow look) or adorned with a fabulous floral crown of big blousy blooms, such as roses, peonies and dahlias.
And thanks to the growing popularity of festival-chic and bohemian weddings, the look is almost as popular today as it was back then. Read this DIY tutorial to find out how to make your own 70s-inspired fairytale flower crown with anemones and daisies.
Hemlines of the ‘60s might have been obscenely short but in the true spirit of the free-love generation, it was anything goes in the ‘70s. But whether you preferred super-short smocks or flamboyant, sweeping maxi-dresses, your frock had to be embellished with flowers. From floral embroidery to chiffon printed with everything from geometric, stylised daisies to opulent floral arrangements, floral-inspired designs were in full bloom.
For more floral fashion inspiration head to our London Fashion Week Street Style board.
Botanical cover stars
With the flower-power phenomenon dominating the music scene, album cover illustrators naturally turned to botanicals for inspiration. From the stylised trippy floral patterns of psychedelic rock albums to the dreamy photo shoots of female folk singers – frolicking in wildflower meadows with blooms in their hair – flowers were the cover stars of the ‘70s. And with folk music firmly back on the scene, there is a new wave of artists emulating their floral-inspired designs. Lana Del Ray pays homage to the female folk stars of the ‘70s on the cover of video games, with retro filters and a bohemian flower crown of pink roses.
Forget the mellow and muted 50-shades-of-grey approach to home décor that’s been dominating the interiors world lately. Every wall was a statement wall in the 70s: think big, bold, stylised flowers in look-at-me shades of turquoise, yellow, orange.
With their simple distinctive shape, daisies were undoubtedly the star of the show but chrysanthemums, poppies and trumpet flowers were all regular guests, too.
If you fancy channelling some retro chic in your home, try a single statement wall of vintage paper. There are hundreds of '70s floral designs available online. And floral interiors weren’t restricted to wallpaper and soft furnishings: the kitchen was a haven of botanical prints on everything from mugs and plates to Pyrex dishes. Scour vintage markets, bric-a-brac stores, mid-century specialists and online stores for some authentic hidden gems.
Feeling inspired? Share your flower power creations with us on Instagram.