Exhibition: Club to Catwalk

Huge shoulder blades and coned bras have no place in today’s world unless you’re Hilary Devey and have enough money to scare away any critism.

The 80s look is instantly recognisable compared to now. The trends defined 80s fashion and still continue to influence designers today. The 85 outfits on show at the V&A Club to Catwalk exhibition tell a story of how the clubbing scene brought about this new revelation in fashion.

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren are knighted with the title of “anarchic godparent to 80s style” in the exhibition where most of their designs are featured.

Famous 80s style magazines The Face, i-D and Blitz show how much fashion magazines have changed through time and focus more on individuality than the latest catwalk floozie.

One trend in particular that caught my attention was the flamboyant New Romantics. It all began at the Blitz club where only the most original and creative gained entry. Although the club is still around today, there’s no denying that this club kick started a wave of individuality and expression through clothes.

Club owner Steve Strange described the trend as, “androgynous dripping with diamante and laden down with eye liner.”

Regular members of the club were called the Blitz Kids which included a few famous names like Adam Ant and The Culture Club. One key piece was the outfit by Sue Clowes for the Foundary that Boy George wore in 1981.

Another trend that stood out was the Hard Times section that which was an antithesis of the New Romantic culture. Face magazine described this style as a hardening of attitudes. Leading the hard times look was Chris Sullivan who was a Blitz Kid himself. He created the Zoot suits with pork pie hats for men to wear in the 80s.

Keeping in line with political attitude of the 70s, Katherine Hamnett’s slogan tee collection of ‘Clean up Ordie’ A/W 89 was backed by her green policies. Even the iconic Pam Hogg took Joan of Arc as her muse in her 1988 Warrior Queen collection. Ripped Tees, torn Jeans and Marlon Brando inspired Black Leather Jackets were rife making this era more masculine and tough.

The 80s was an era to embrace your own individual style and it began to take fashion to extreme lengths to be more creative whilst pushing the boundaries. It also shows how clubs can influence trends as well as bad drinking decisions.