I love the ‘80s: V&A unveil Eighties Style Retrospect

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PHOTO: VOGUE
Sketch for Levi Strauss & Co. denim jacket, Blitz, by Stephen Linnard, 1986

There are many reasons I love the Eighties, for a start my mother was born in 1985, MTV put music on television and some of the greatest designers and style icons emerged, from Katharine Hamnett and her slogan tees to Grace Jones and her fierce persona. The era that some say fashion forgot has in fact had as great an influence over design as the 50s, 70s and 90s, meaning that staples in my teen wardrobe are more than likely to have sprung from that very era of excess that saw Madonna bedecked with crucifixes and Cabbage Patch dolls hit the headlines.

Though all eyes are turned to the SS13 catwalk offering due to be unveiled in less than three months, the New Year will also see London’s Victoria & Albert museum showcase over 85 ensembles from the Eighties club scene. Following Jean Paul Gaultier’s sartorial homage to the best of the Eighties, the V&A’s summer 2013 exhibition will take us back through time to understand how the British capital’s underground nightlife inspired designers such as John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood, whose pieces will be displayed.

Featuring all the trends in Eighties clubbing attire, from Fetish and Goth to Rave, High Camp and New Romantics, the exhibition will also include nine denim jackets that were commissioned by Blitz club magazine in 1981. The commission saw 22 London-based designers, including Paul Smith and Katharine Hamnett, put their own unique spin on a Levi Strauss & Co jacket with the full collection first going on display at the V&A 27 years ago in 1986. In respect of the fashion media’s influence on the industry, a mini club-like area in the exhibition will provide a dedicated space for visitors to browse archive magazines which played a key part in bringing the Eighties look to a wider audience.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s will run from 10 July 2013 until 16 February 2014.

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