7 of Farrah Fawcett's most iconic outfits
From tennis gear to chainmail dresses, the 'Charlie’s Angels' actress defined 1970s California chic.
Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images and by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
She skateboards, she serves, she wears sequined gowns: Farrah Fawcett embodies the Cali-chic of the 1970s. After making her television breakthrough as one of the original Charlie’s Angels, the American actress became a pop culture phenomenon and sex symbol, overnight. Whether fighting small screen crime as Jill Munroe or playing in a celebrity tennis match, Farrah — and her inimitable style — encapsulates the low-key/high-key glam of 70s Hollywood. Think luxe athleisure in adidas tennis sets paired with tennis bracelets. Her signature windswept ‘do coupled with a pair of Nike Cortez, skateboarding through Griffith Park. Feather boas and chainmail dresses on the red carpet. Slouchy wool separates with aviator sunglasses and gold jewelry off-duty. Here, we take a look back at Farrah Fawcett’s most 70s, most summer-y and most iconic outfits.
For a photoshoot, 1976
You likely know American actress Farrah Fawcett from her starring role in the 70s crime drama Charlie’s Angels. Before she became a star of the small screen, however, Farrah made a name for herself with a single photograph. After being scouted by Hollywood agent David Mirisch in the mid-60s, Farrah moved to LA where she immediately signed to an agency and began acting in commercials and TV sitcoms. In 1976, nearly a decade after her career beginnings (and the very same year she’d be cast as an “angel”), Farrah’s agent arranged a photoshoot with the actress for poster company Pro Arts. According to Hollywood legend, Farrah styled her own hair (amping up her blonde curls with a squeeze of lemon), did her own makeup (sans mirror) and chose her outfit (her own red one-piece swimsuit) for the shoot. She also had a say in the final image selection, narrowing down 40 rolls of film to six favourite photos. The result is the best-selling poster of all-time — so famous that it appears on the wall of a teenage bedroom in 1977 disco flick Saturday Night Fever.
In Charlie’s Angels, 1976
In 1976, Farrah was cast alongside actresses Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson in television crime series Charlie’s Angels. While divisive among critics (half who derided it as “Jiggle TV”, and half who lauded it as empowering feminist fare), the show was a runaway success with audiences, propelling Farrah to instant super-stardom as undercover detective Jill Munroe. Among Jill’s many disguises — which include a cocktail waitress, a preacher’s daughter, a very chic aunt — it’s this skateboarding get-up that’s stood the test of time to become the actress’ most memorable Charlie’s Angels look. In this Instagram moodboard staple, Farrah effortlessly cruises through LA’s Griffith Park wearing a sporty red half-zip, medium wash flares and her iconic Nike Cortez sneakers.
At a Playboy charity tennis match, 1976
From 70s charity matches to meeting Maria Sharapova in 2005’s Chasing Farrah, the actress’ life-long love of tennis is incredibly well-documented. Throughout the late 70s, Farrah was a prominent member of Palm Springs’ exclusive Racquet Club and a stalwart participant in Hollywood’s many charity tennis tournaments. The actress’ gear of choice? White sweat shorts, polo T-shirts and a colourful track jacket paired with her trusty adidas sneakers.
At the Golden Globe Awards, 1977
We can’t speak to Farrah’s most iconic looks without at least a nod to that ‘do. Like “The Rachel” in the 90s, during the late 70s, Farrah’s singular windswept hairstyle became so iconic that it coined its own namesake moniker: the Farrah Fawcett flip. Here she dawns her signature hairdo with a Grecian-inspired gown to the 1977 Golden Globes, where she was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Charlie’s Angels.
On The Sonny & Cher Show, 1977
In 1977, Farrah guest starred on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. During her two-episode stint on the variety show, the actress wore just as many extravagant outfits as one would expect from a TV series hosted by Cher. In one sketch, Farrah plays opposite Cher as a pair of storefront mannequins, dressed in head-to-toe sequins. Here, the duo (plus Sonny) play as two incredibly chic castaways, Farrah wearing a very 70s halter gown with massive feather boa.
At the Academy Awards, 1978
Before there was Paris Hilton in her 21st birthday dress — or even Naomi and Kate in Versace, for that matter — there was Farrah at the 1978 Academy Awards. The chainmail dress as we know it today came into fashion in the late 60s by way of Spanish designer Paco Rabanne. Throughout the youthquake era, Paco’s metal minidresses outfitted icons from Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy to Jane Fonda’s Barbarella. Into the 70s, Farrah upheld the Space Age frock’s bombshell legacy by wearing a liquid gold, slip-style iteration to the 1978 Academy Awards.
In New York City, 1978
Off the tennis court (where the look was definitively athleisure) and the red carpet (where fluid, draped gowns ruled), Farrah’s style was classic, pared down and… surprisingly modern. Prescient to contemporary luxury houses like The Row and Lemaire, the actress’ off-duty wardrobe comprised a small rotation of luxe staples and quiet statement pieces in a warm neutral palette. Think mid-length skirts with knee-high boots and chunky sweaters. Cashmere coats with dropped shoulders and ample sleeves. Long silk crepe scarves and slouchy handbags. Or, here: taupe corduroy trousers, suede sling and a thick cotton polo sweater. Chic!