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Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s at the V&A

Club_to_Catwalk_crop_jpg_290x193_crop_q85This summer, the V&A reminds us of the incredibly creative club culture in the 1980’s, and how it impacted London fashion. The exhibition “Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980” explores the fascinating link between fashion and night life at the time, through more than 90 outfits on display.

Whilst the ground floor displays amazing looks and silhouettes from now iconic/then emerging or young fashion designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett – as well as accessories from Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox, among others – grouped by brand, the mezzanine  focusses on club outfits grouped by tribes, from Fetish to New Romantics.

dezeen_Club-to-Catwalk-exhibition-at-the-V-and-A_11 copyOne of the highlights of the exhibition – and a sort of snapshot of the 80’s London fashion scene – is a selection of the famous Blitz denim jackets. In 1986,  Blitz magazine commissioned a group of 22 London-based designers, including John Galliano, Rifat Ozbek, Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith, Katharine Hamnett, Body Map, Jasper Conran, Betty Jackson, Vivienne Westwood and a few others, to customise denim jackets provided by Levi Strauss & Co. Only a few are on display, but some of these are pure poetry!

The exhibition also reminds us, via the catwalk shows projected on the walls, or the small club-like area streaming music and film footage of clubs from the 1980s, how fun this period was – and how well it translated into fashion!

Laurie Guillem

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s
Victoria & Albert Museum , London/ 10 July 2013 – 16 February 2014

What do you think?

Written by Laurie Guillem

Cerruti 1881 menswear Spring/Summer 2014

Zandra Rhodes Unseen