I was recently looking through a great book, The Designing Life, which is a compilation of articles published in W magazine in the 1980s. It is a perfect time capsule of the 1980s: the designers, the society ladies, the shoulder pads, the hair!
There are also spectacular interior design stories from the fashion world such as the wonderful homes of Valentino: Rome (done by Renzo Mongiardino whose aesthtic gave everyone's homes a sense of history, culture and exceptional taste), Capri and the yacht, the T.M. Blue. There are also photographs of Saint Laurent's homes in Morocco and the romanic Proustian inspired Normandy home.
But then there also is the inescapable fact that there is a lot of hideous clothing! Huge shoulders and 'career chic' which meant suits, suits, suits. Often with an apparently tiny headed woman on top of the suit - that is how big those jackets were. There is one photograph of a model in a Fendi fur coat and the body of the coat is large enough to cover a school teacher and her entire class of twenty children. It is seriously huge!
But mixed in with the hideous is the alluring, the super cool, the bits that designers are now referencing and reinterpreting. Watch Desperately Seeking Susan and see Madonna's character trade a jacket for a pair of studded booties. She wears them unzipped and folded over. Well, just take a look at Fall 2009 and you can buy Madonna's Desperately Seeking Susan booties! Madonna's booties: good. Big shouldered, big buttoned power suit: bad. Reinterpretations: not all bad.
Christian Louboutin Leopard Print Booties Fall 2009
This Givenchy haute couture dress in midnight blue silk and voided velvet is sleek, elegant and polished. It is cut super lean. The sleeves are fitted and narrow. The bodice is snug over the bust and waist. There is a bit of nostalgia and history in the padded swag that drapes over the hips but the mixed pattern of dots and stripes, long narrow sleeves, intensely feminine cocktail dress, is all 80s, all French, all Hubert de Givenchy, all good.
1980s midnight blue Givenchy haute couture cocktail dress. Size 4.