The 70s revival: Seven comebacks from decade of kitsch

Author: By Emily Dugan, Nina Lakhani and Andrew Johnson

They made most people long for sudden deafness when they were together the first time but, for reasons best known to themselves, the Nolan Sisters are back. Coleen, Linda, Bernie and Maureen are back, minus sister Anne, for a comeback tour in October. They aren’t the only ones: the Bay City Rollers have pulled their tartan outfits out of mothballs, and even the Specials have picked up their guitars again. The big screen is focusing on the sounds of the decade too. Souled Out, a coming-of-age film set in the 1970s northern soul scene, hits cinemas this month.

Campari comes back

Whether it was “wafted here from paradise” or merely pulled from a dusty corner of the drinks cabinet by an ageing Lorraine Chase, star of the iconic “Nah, Luton Airport” advert for the aperitif, Campari is making a comeback. Sales of “Red Passion” are up 7 per cent on last year, and the drink’s owners report a 40 per cent increase in demand for Campari-inspired cocktails including Negronis and Americanos since January. Its fan club now includes Jefferson Hack and Jessica Alba. South London has even seen a trendy pop-up bar dedicated to the drink.

Flowers, flounces and even flares!

The Seventies TV show Charlie’s Angels helped to popularise maxi dresses, floral prints, hot pants and flared trouser suits at a time when the advent of jet travel brought ideas from around the world into mainstream women’s fashion. Angelina Jolie, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton and Drew Barrymore have all adopted maxi dresses. Flares were also all over the catwalks this year, with Victoria Beckham the latest designer to go for denim bell-bottoms.

Skateboards ride again

Thanks to the parents who cruised and bruised themselves on pavements 30 years ago, the sport of the teenage dropout has come of age. Shiner, the UK’s largest wholesaler of skateboards, says it is selling three times as many as it was two years ago, and Gravity Engineering is building 50 new skate parks this summer. Ben Powell, editor of Sidewalk skate magazine, says: “There is a major boom in publicly funded skate parks, and there are a lot of skaters who did it in the Seventies and are now getting boards for themselves and their kids.”

Campers get going

Once a must-have accessory for every long-haired, guitar-playing disciple of the Seventies hippie trail, the original VW camper is experiencing a renaissance. Danbury, which imports new VW campervans made in the original Seventies “type 2” design from Brazil, says sales are up 250 per cent on this time last year. “We can’t import them fast enough,” said co-owner Jason Jones. “They seem to be more popular now than they were in the Seventies. We’re still producing them in the original design ? we offer things like assisted steering, but people don’t want it. They like the original.”

Perms and moustaches return

Was nothing learnt from the monstrosity that was Kevin Keegan’s barnet? The impossible has happened: perms are cool again, thanks to the likes of Christina Aguilera. Superdrug reports that sales of home perm kits are up 50 per cent on last year; it sold more kits in a week last month than in the whole of 2006. If the return of the perm weren’t bad enough, moustaches are also enjoying a resurgence. Celebrities recently seen sporting Freddie Mercury-style tea-strainers include Jude Law, Jack Black and Johnny Depp.

Space Hoppers rebound

Also known as hoppity hops, hop ball and kangaroo balls, they really took off in the UK during the summer of 1971. Despite the fact they served absolutely no useful purpose, you had to have one. For much of the early Seventies, children and adults with a penchant for acid spent hours bouncing up and down busy roads until they either developed a headache or fell off. Last week, Ashrita Furman became the world’s most prolific Guinness World Record holder. And what were his greatest achievements? The two most important Space Hopper speed records: the 100 metres and the mile, which he set on the Great Wall of China. Several online sites dedicated to the hopper revival have sprung up, selling new varieties such as toddle hoppers and giant adult hoppers ? for fat people who want to bounce.

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