The Eighties was a mega time for fashion developments – not least in London where an extremely creative movement came out of the synergy of young designers still at fashion college and the underground club scene. The ethos was ‘anything goes’ and where dressing up was positively encouraged. This decade is the premise for the V&A’s ‘Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s’ which explores the creative explosion of London fashion in the 1980s . . . “and how the impact of underground club culture was felt far beyond the club doors, reinventing fashion worldwide.”
Now many of those crazy clubbers are grown up and instead of creating outfits to wear themselves on a Saturday night they’re designing looks for the international catwalks. The exhibits are fascinating, from crazy knitwear to hardcore Goth looks to a selection of customised denim jackets.
Other featured designers at the new V&A exhibition include;
Katharine Hamnett – who created provocative and brilliant political slogan T shirts during the Thatcher era (including one she wore when meeting Mrs T at a reception in Downing Street).
John Galliano – who went on to start his own label and helm Christian Dior for 15 years.
Bodymap – the dynamic duo Stevie Stewart and David Holah who made their stretchy, innovative collections, layering print on print that not only defined underground fashion in that era but have been major inspiration for many a designer wanting an injection of streety cool ever since.
The clubs referenced were all around in Eighties London – from Blitz to Taboo to Hard Times. Stevie Stewart of Body Map explained that ‘each group of people, whether they were fashion designers, musicians or dancers, filmmakers or whatever, living together, going out together at the same clubs . . . had a passion for creating something new . . . that was almost infectious’.
Get down to the V&A to see the exhibition – with over 85 outfits plus fascinating footage, magazines and other documents of the era. The exhibition costs £5 entry fee and you can book tickets at vam.ac.uk or on the phone 0207 9077073