The 80s is back, big and bold on the summer 2018 catwalks
Madonna, shoulder pads, Margaret Thatcher’s coiffed hair and sharp suits: the 1980s are iconic for many reasons. It was the age of excess, and fashion was at its most bold.
Until now, scrunchies and spandex have lived in the shadow of biker jackets and overalls, making only brief reappearances every now and then. While flared jeans and hoop earrings were honoured with runway presentations, puffy shirts and ripped jeans were kicked to the curb.
But there was a defiant spirit in the air this season as designers eschewed the, of late, customary ’90s nostalgia for a new era. Nipped waists, shoulder pads and sequins set the tone for what was about to come as models at Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marc Jacobs headlined the most iconic ’80s trends.
“The whole 1980s trend has been trying to push through for the last few seasons, but it’s not until now that it has really taken hold and has become the biggest trend,” says London based celebrity and personal stylist, Alex Longmore. “The ’80s were a decadent time and I believe the designers wanted to emulate that. They have also taken huge inspiration from the volume, tailoring, avant-garde shapes and silhouettes of the ’80s. Certainly Gucci and Marc Jacobs have taken the traditional ’80s style and have pushed it forward into something much more futuristic.”
Bigger is better was the official catwalk mantra this season. But the most stunning stamp of approval came from Donatella Versace who, in a celebratory tribute to Gianni Versace, memorialised everything that captured the glamour of the ’80s – the original five. In a defining moment, supermodels Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer lined up on the runway in striking gold dresses. Everything else that followed amplified the spirit of the ’80s.
Yet, season after season, we are left with one question: What runway looks can translate into our wardrobes and what pieces can we actually incorporate in real life?
In an ode to bumbags and slogan-tees, we look at the key 1980s trends that will define this season. We think you’ll be seeing a lot of them at Shoppes at The Venetian.
As summer continues, the official battle lines are drawn. Glitter and sequin enthusiasts will have it out with those who have been too caught up in the athleisure drama. But not even minimalists can escape the evening party circuit without a hint of shine this season. If the runways are any indication, more is more and sparkle is mandatory. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere paired embellished brocade frock coats with silk shorts. In a modern take on the power suit – models were seen in razor sharp suits complete with wallpaper jacquards.
But the ’80s glamour really hit fever pitch at Gucci, where there was enough shine to make your eyes hurt. Bejewelled racing jackets, sweaters and dresses sequinned in gold and silver, and glam rock glitter stockings – Alessandro Michele really nailed this season’s ultimate party wardrobe.
If you find yourself a little lost without celebrity inspiration, look no further than English actress Hermione Corfield, who arrived at the Emporio Armani show in a glitter pantsuit. Or take a note from Poppy Delevingne, who layered her otherwise subtle look with a swanky blue coat.
The ’80s were about the disco drama but they were also about really coming into your own, rebellion and shunning conformity. There are two very discernible ’80s camps this time around – the over-the-top eveningwear options and the plain but fabulous daytime casual. If the puffs and frills spectacle is not for you, just a plain pair of ripped jeans paired with a slogan tee may carry you over this season.
The ’80s were iconic for their idiosyncratic blend of loud colours and avant-garde
silhouettes but pastels and denim were instrumental in the creation of key styles from the era. And this season, they were not left out. “Go for anything with big shoulders and nipped-in waists, trouser suits, bum bags, slogan T-shirts, [and] wear fuchsia pink. Pastel colours are very ’80s too in inspiration,” Longmore advises.
At Céline, Phoebe Philo was inspired by the women in the advertisements of the late ’70s and early ’80s. “They had pleated skirts and big hairdos,” she said backstage to Vogue. “I started looking at the designers of the early ’80s, pre-Aids. I can almost not imagine what it felt like, to have that joyousness and freedom.” The result? Quirky shoulder pad suits in light pastel hues and side-pleated skirts or trousers layered with looped-up trench coats.
Over at Dries Van Noten, too, the runway was bursting with delicious pastel sightings. The designer knows how to tease. A sensational lilac skirt with a glitzy jacquard jacket, a vertically striped silver and pewter pantsuit, a scarf-turned-camisole attached to a sheer shirt over jeans: the collection was a chic
euphoria of colours and patterns. The verdict was clear: the ’80s won’t quit, and this season is a brazen licence to shop.
If there’s one thing that made the ’80s styles so hard to ignore, it was how elaborate and eccentric they were. Everyone wanted to stand out - minimalism be damned! This being the case, avant-garde silhouettes and flashy colours are in.
At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello took the label’s party spirit to its peak with gold-coin-dot printed tulle tops, sparkling embroidered sequinned dresses, and bravura ostrich feathers, all of them paired with the tiniest of shorts and skirts.
“That girl of Saint Laurent – she wants to have fun,” Vaccarello said backstage. “She’s not depressed. She wants to enjoy life!”
Vaccarello wasn’t alone. Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli yearned for a pulsating and vibrant ’80s too. “I wanted to get back something of the glamour of the ’80s that Mr Valentino did so well,” he said before the show. And so he did. Mini bubble dresses and ultra-shortened translations ruffled couture dresses of the ’80s were
followed by clear plastics with sequins, and athleticism with glam and roses.
Designer Marc Jacobs had a more psychedelic idea for the fun party girl that Vaccarello referenced. Over at his New York City presentation, the grandiosity of the ’80s manifested itself in superior sequins, glitter rock glamour, giant daisies, tinsel trimmings and an infinite sea of Crayola colours.
“It’s all about being big and disco. Statement earrings, statement everything. Satin, silks and plastics. It’s about dressing like a power woman but making it more up to date by making sure you adapt the look for now. It’s not vintage in feel, it’s retro but with an edge,” Longmore says.
What we were left with at the end of the season was an endless pool of choices, some truly inspirational runway moments, and a nostalgic longing for the insouciance of the ’80s.