Even as a kid in the 1970s I was well aware of The Iranian Revolution. It was a top headline for quite some time because its consequences were so profound The pro-Western Shah was overthrown and replaced with the rabidly anti-Western Ayatollah Khomeini. Any Western cultural influences were rejected overnight in favor of a hard-line Islamic state. Matters between the West and Iran got even worse when the dethroned Shah fled to the US, and the Iranians responded by holding diplomats hostage. Almost thirty years later, things haven’t changed much.
Looking at fashions from the pre-revolutionary 1960s and 1970s, is a jarring experience. We are so accustomed to their “traditional” Muslim garb, we forget that Iranian ladies ever looked this way. Miniskirts, bright-happy colors, sexy styles… it was all the rage before their entire culture was swept clean of any Western look overnight.
Let’s have a look at the fashions before the revolution. Now, Iranian women have to fight for the right to be able to expose hair under their headscarves. But in the 60s and early to mid-1970s it was quite a different story…
These Iranian movie starlets wouldn’t get away with this look today. However, it should be said that although the Western look was purged, women actually did make some significant gains. For instance, since the 1970s, women’s literacy and graduation rate has vastly improved.
Obviously, it’s a complex subject and I am nowhere near an expert. So, let’s just stick to the fashion contrast, shall we?
Roshanfekr Magazine and a laundry soap advertisement from the 1960s
(L) Miss Teen World Finalists – 1968 . (R) Sholeh Zand – Miss Iran 1969
Various Iranian celebs in the 1970s
Googoosh was a popular singer in Iran, and a favorite of the Shah. She happened to be in Los Angeles at the time of the revolution. She returned home to find that she was no longer allowed to perform and all her material was banned.
Ettelaat Banovan magazine covers from the 1960s
At left, celebs pose for an Iranian New Year TV special
Sexy actress Sepideh – pictured above and below
(L) Tehran University students in the 1970s, (R) a shoe advertisement
Miss Teen Iran Finalists 1969
(L) On the streets of Teharan in the 1970s, (R) Actresses Haleh and Mahnaz
Miss Iran finalists from 1972 and 1973
(L) Miss Iran finalists 1966, (R) Iran Air flight attendants
A couple Iranian celebs: Homa Roosta and Forouzan
(L) Actrees Marjan, (R) Iranian pop star Arghavan who fled the country in 1979. As of late, she has been involved in attempts to bring music back to Iran, at the risk of imprisonment.
Miss Iran 1978 finalists. This would be the last pageant – there would be no Miss Iran 1979 or onward.