The Instagram Account Archiving Exquisite Interiors from Vintage Porn

Via @hardcor_decor

This ever-growing collection of erotic images is guaranteed to arouse your lust for mid-century furnishings

“The genesis of the account was actually the early days of (at the time) a long-distance relationship – I was in New York, with my (now) partner in Sydney. Both being vintage obsessives, we’d augment our intercontinental sexting with vintage erotica pulled from the internet,” explains James Bellesini, founder of @hardcor_decor.

Not to be confused with @decorhardcore, the similarly iconic inspo account curating garishly brilliant interiors and architecture, Hardcor Decor is an Instagram account chronicling long forgotten, vintage softcore print porn from the 1970s. Surprisingly, it’s not the emoji’ed-out tits or flashes of flesh that first entice the viewer’s eye to Hardcor Decor’s feed. Instead, a cursory scroll of the online gallery will fill your phone screen with shag carpets, lurid print wallpaper, and screenshots of platform shoes to rival Bianca Jagger’s personal collection – with the account’s primary focus being on aesthetic and interior inspiration as opposed to all-out arousal.

“Beautifully, the restrictions that IG have with content actually made the account work better, I think, than just being able to post uncensored images.” Bellesini, a graphic designer by trade, continues, “the focus becomes squarely on the decor with all the ‘action’ cropped out, although the true joy of Hardcor Decor is finding that elusive image with just enough suggestive content to be titillating, without tipping over into ‘post removed’ territory.”

Growing up in the 70s, he describes himself as “essentially anti-social media,” proclaiming: “Twitter is the first sign of the Apocalypse, basically – and the less said about Facebook the better.” However, the graphic designer found himself drawn to Instagram as a platform, after succumbing to purchasing an iPhone after years of holding out with a Nokia flip-phone.

Running Hardcor Decor alongside a more explicit, censor-free Tumblr account, Booze&Broads, Bellesini finds his source material through hours of scouring vintage erotica forums online; with only one criterion for posting; “does the image make me chuckle?” The timing of his tech-awakening is somewhat serendipitous, with the creation of the account coinciding with an undeniable resurgence in popularity of 70s aesthetics seen everywhere from the photography of Petra Collins to the Gucci runway.  

Despite the erotica of the decade – and therefore Hardcor Decor’s feed – being largely and undeniably heteronormative in nature, Bellesini believes there are cues modern-day erotica can take from the porn of our past. “A sense of eroticism is always far more powerful and visually striking than what seems to me to be the much more extreme, and clinical, content of modern porn.”

“I miss the warmth and grain of film, and the whole mise-en-scene of garish wallpaper and shag carpet – it’s no doubt a generational thing, but those elements are inextricably linked to sex in my mind,” Bellesini reminisces, “along with a beautifully cheesy and seductive, bass-heavy, swirling organ’d and jazz-fluted soundtrack!”

Intrinsically smutty in nature, Bellesini describes the running of the account as “purely for laughs”. But his fondness for the decade, accelerated by our cultural obsession with nostalgia, has cultivated a platform that provides a visual encyclopedia of all things 70s — with Hardcor Decor providing a largely unseen glimpse into an era, outside of traditional censorship and a sterilised, sexless view of history. When held up against the sterile, unimaginative porn plugged by mainstream outlets, it’s hard to argue with his opinion that we’ve regressed in terms of porn as an artform.

“I do feel like the 70s is such a rich decade visually, full of sumptuous detail and texture, the neo-belle époque... Maybe the last decade that elevated male peacocking through fashion to unimaginable heights and collar lengths.” He concludes: “Along with women’s fashion of the era, there was a profound sensuality that the conservative 80s crushed all too soon.”

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