The 1970s was about shag-pile rugs, psychedelic-patterned and coloured wallpaper, bright clothes and Madge the manicurist praising Palmolive. The 1970s was the era of two Mercedes-Benz model series that made record sales: the previous W 114/W 115 E-Class model series (also known as the “Stroke 8”) and the W 123. The W 123 replaced the “Stroke 8” from 1975 onwards.
The lifestyle of the 1970s is often talked about, but very little of it can still be seen or felt. Except in the Parkhotel 1970 in the town of Michelstadt in the Odenwald mountains. Here is a hotel which has kept that authentic style of the time and which was re-opened several years ago. Prior to that, the former spa resort and holiday hotel spent almost 20 years in a deep sleep.
Of course, looking back on this decade, not everything was golden. However the era remains in our memories as a time of economic security, hippie fashion and easy-listening music, the 1972 summer Olympic games in Munich and the 1974 World Cup in Germany. Model, Alea Kay Wiles, supported by stylists Alexander Hofmann and Gina Pieper as well as the Byzantine gold Mercedes-Benz 280 CE from 1972 brings back the atmosphere of the time.
The Mercedes-Benz brand also felt the momentum of the seventies. The luxury class sedans and the SL models allowed the brand with the three-pointed star to shine brightly; the Mercedes-Benz executive class models – today, the E-Class – ensured good financial returns. When production of the “Stroke 8” ended in 1976, almost two million vehicles from this model series had rolled off the production line. The next model series, the W 123, was to see even greater success.
Photographer Benjamin Pichelmann wasn’t at the Parkhotel 1970 for the first time. Two years ago he assisted a fashion photographer for a magazine shoot. Since then he has had the location in mind for portraying a car in this setting. Classic Magazine has now given him the opportunity to bring together retro fashion and the Mercedes-Benz classic car.
In this picture everything is real and almost all is authentic. The lobby of the Parkhotel appears in its original state as at its opening and the S 123 in the background is just as it was when it left the production line. Model Alea only knows the 1970s from her parents’ stories and the fashion she is wearing is from current collections in the popular retro look.
Heated swimming pools were the top notch for leisure culture in the seventies – in the Parkhotel, too. Benjamin Pichelmann didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity for the final shots. He could have taken the photos from the edge of the pool, but the images in his head had him climbing into the water.
In the 1970s any pool user dressed in a bathing costume like this one would have been in fashion. Back then, bikinis had long since overtaken the one-piece suit in the popularity stakes and the really brave bathed topless …