I recently came across a 1976 Spring/Summer Eaton’s Catalogue. Truly a trip down memory lane! The T. Eaton Co. Limited founded in 1869, was once Canada’s largest department store that became a national institution in Canada. Eaton’s issued their first catalogue in 1884. For 92 years the Eaton’s catalogue was a household fixture but due to financial reasons the 1976 Spring/Summer catalogue was their last catalogue ever issued. It was really fun to look through the 700 page catalogue of very retro fashions and to see what the trends of the mid-70’s were. For clothing, denim/stretch denim was hot, as were caftan dresses, tube tops, platform shoes for men and women and Speedo® bathing suits were just being introduced. What I found really interesting was the home furnishings and décor. Of course the popular colours of the time were harvest gold, avocado and brown in everything from appliances to bedding. But it was the fabrics that were being used for bedding and drapery that had me so interested. The 1970’s were all about “easy care” with fabrics that promised “permanent press, no-iron, machine washable, carefree, wrinkle-shy, resists the harmful effects of heat, humidity, sunlight and smoke”. Synthetic materials were opted over natural fibres as they “eliminated chores”. Fabrics being used for bedding were: ARNEL, AVRIL, MODACRYLIC, FIBERGLAS, FORTREL, DACRON, LANESSE, and TERGAL. Arnel was the trademark name of a synthetic fiber developed in the 1950’s but was discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986 due to concerns about the toxicity of a chemical used to manufacture the fiber. Modacrylic (modified acrylic) was produced in 1949 by Union Carbide Corporation. And Fiberglas? When it comes to the cyclical nature of fashion (and home decor) isn’t it nice to know that some things are left behind?
As I recall they did not sell cigarettes and on sunday drapery covered all their display windows. It was a classy store
A quick fun read Meech, good research skills re Eatons however I found the 70’s to be THE most horrifying time in fashion, as well as home decor (my personal opinion), yet designers are always returning back and reusing past eras in attempts to reinvent the wheel. Remember those jumpsuits, culottes, platform shoes!!! Most 70’s decor colours were either dark and foreboding, the ‘harvest golds’ a yellow tinged puke! Today’s colour palettes have certainly come a long way — thank goodness! and the line & design of prints today are much more sophisticated thanks to technology & experimentation Whew! The best thing about the 70’s however were the streakers, Aviator glasses, The RocKy Horror Picture Show, Disco Dancing (come on we all loved it in some way!) & of COURSE the Smiley Face! 🙂
…and you kept your smiley face!!