As a HUGE fashion fanatic, nothing pleased me more than heading to the Victoria & Albert Museum and taking in the exhibit that started it all for me. This was the time, the period, the main reason why I wanted to move to London and be a designer, especially when I take in all of the issues of I D, The Face and Blitz and see all the things that inspired me. 80’s Fashion: From Club To Catwalk totally signifies the moment I spoke it into existence.
Walking into this exhibit got me emotional, because I can remember that day in 1984 (September 5th), when I spoke the words out loud to the universe that I wanted to live in London. In my school bag I was carrying a copy of I D magazine, a copy of Blitz magazine, and a copy of The Face magazine along with my notebook and my walkman (I always had a heavy school bag). I would fall into a dreamlike place as I read all about the fashion, music, and art in London while listening to all of the hot British bands that started to hit in America (Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Bananarama, etc.). I would hear the different British accents in my head as the words and pictures lifted off of the pages. Many of the pieces in this exhibit were on those pages and they brought back so many memories.
Fashion, music, art and nightclubs in 1980’s Britain was totally all about innovation and attitude. A lot of the DIY ethos from punk in the 1970’s (which was also a great time for edgy, British fashion) and pulled into the era of big business in the financial sector, Margaret Thatcher and the yuppies. This was the time that the edgy and experimental designers that I loved emerged like Betty Jackson, Vivienne Westwood, and BodyMap. A lot of these pieces not only inspired me to be a designer, but to also be a notorious club kid!!!
This was the time of the independent creator. Culture Club and Spandau Ballet created a new sound for pop and their friends created their looks. This fueled the fashion in London for a little while through word of mouth and throughout the club scene, but it really took off when Diana Spencer married Prince Charles. Now, royalty was championing the edgy, cool British designers. She wore them with elegance, grace, and style and it gave these designers a sense of respectability outside of their friends and the club scene. Suddenly, there was an explosion of clubs, designers and art school students creating looks for the clubs and the streets. In my eyes, this was the best time in British fashion. The financial part was always tough, but creative minds always find a way to do a lot with a little and the looks were always memorable.
I couldn’t take pictures at the exhibit, but two of the books I got from the exhibit are pretty amazing!!! They’re called “80’s Fashion: From Club To Catwalk” edited by Sonnet Stanfill and “We Can Be Heroes: London Clubland 1976-1984” by Graham Smith and Chris Sullivan with interviews from Boy George (Culture Club), Steve Strange, and Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
If you have the chance to see this exhibit, see it and see all of the things that inspired me and all of them to take the world by storm!!!
Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!!!