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Dolce and Gabbana

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80s fashion redux, part 12: Time of the essence in the 80s

(This is the twelfth in my series of posts on 80s fashion trends and the impact they are having on current fashion. If you'd like to read from the beginning, please start with my blog of July 23.)

Watches...probably not the biggest influence on current fashion, but one of my favorite style trends of the 80s. They were everywhere then, including up and down my arm.


Underwear as outerwear, a popular 80s theme...and of course there's a watch

Originally posted June 5, 2006:

Of all outgoing accessories in the 1980s, WATCHES were most necessary. Watches appeared in fashion magazines in spreads with bathing suits, wedding gowns, and in every other possible or impossible setting. Vintage watches were used as fashion decor, and man-style watches, along with Swatches and other brights, were extremely popular.



Blazer, Donna Karan, Riding pants, H. Kauffman & Sons Saddlery, Wrist watch, Tiffany & Co., Pocket watch, Obrey


Some of my own 80s watches, including the earliest Swatch I ever spotted (bottom of scan)

Update August 27, 2009:

I have already pointed out a true paean to the 80s circling the necks of models on Dolce & Gabbana's runway for fall 2009

...but frankly, this is more an homage to a time gone by, not current need. Even in the 80s, we were starting—just starting—to get away from watches. Their popularity (and the start of their demise) was due to the fact we no longer had to wind them, and they were cheaply and reliably made. They were very soon superseded by even more amazing technical achievements in the making of personal gadgetry. Now we rely on our smartphones for time, along with so much more information. Perhaps this genre hasn't disappeared, but morphed in form?
Wood concept smartphone, Gernot Oberfell

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80s fashion redux, part 9: Polka dots hit the spot in the 80s


(This is the ninth in my series of posts on 80s fashion trends and the impact they are having on current fashion. If you'd like to read from the beginning, please start with my blog of July 23.)

The intrigue of bright pattern mixing photographed by the inimitable Toscani in 1986, clothes by Missoni and Fendi


I didn't mention this in my post from 2006, but this is personal. I wore so many polka dots in the 80s that my standard line for people who asked me about this was "why yes, I do shop at Circus Surplus!" I loved mixing patterns and I loved brights.

80s patterns, I salute you!


Originally posted May 6, 2006:

OK, polka dots were not the only PATTERN/COLOR in the 1980s, but they were a riotous favorite, in every color and every size...often all at once! Stripes came in a close second, and many bold patterns found their place in the sun.

Colors, too, were often loud and clear, from the top of the head, to the tip of the toe.

Striped thigh highs, Betsey Johnson. Shoes, Charles David designed by Nathalie M.

Christian Lacroix

KenzoSweater by Bennetton. Skirt, Street Life. Boots, Koss by Diego Della Valle. Blanket, KenzoCardigan by Moschino. Bag, Tony Bryant Designs

Skirts by Moschino. Shoes, left to right, Mario Valentino, Nina Footwear and Fratelli Rossetti for Geoffrey Beene
Update August 10, 2009:


For fall 2009, designers have continued a recent trend toward highlighter brights, with the purest form in the hands of Michael Kors:

Distinctly 80s-looking bright patterns were seen on Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton runways:

Dots were suavely mixed by Esteban Cortazar for Ungaro, and look, he's even pulled out the 80s pouf skirt to keep them company!

Dolce & Gabbana again, this time with a bright pink party frock and polka dots that would not have looked out of place in the 80s. Spot on!

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80s fashion redux, part 8: Gold, silver, ethnic, flash, glitter and knockout extravagance

(This is the eighth in my series of posts on 80s fashion trends and the impact they are having on current fashion. If you'd like to read from the beginning, please start with my blog of July 23.)

The 80s had a you can't contain me vibe, with big hair, big shoulders, frothy skirts, underwear as outerwear, bright prints and colors...and of course strong jewelry. Jewelry showed our love of material things, and our fervor for fashion. If I had to choose one 80s-style bold jewelry item for fall 2009, it would be a necklace, the most convincing of pieces being shown.

Originally posted April 30, 2006:

This is too easy! It is actually a bit hard to find 80s fashion photos without strong jewelry!

Large earrings and brooches, clusters of pins and bracelets, Chanel-like (better yet actual Chanel) multiple ropes of chains and pearls, big ethnic beads, flashy bejeweled crosses...To call it the decade of OUTGOING JEWELRY is a positive understatement! Watches were so important that I'll give them their own time later.

Brooch, Verdura. Cuff, John Iversen

David Millman bracelets and earrings

Earrings and necklace by Alan MacDonald for Ozbek. Jacket, Ozbek

Pins, Sentimento. Bracelet, The Franklin Mint. Outfit, Jean Paul Gaultier

Star pins by Anni & Co., and Richard Lindsay. Shirt, OMO Norma Kamali. Jacket, Malisy. Pants, Plein Sud by Fayal Amor

Earrings, Fabrice. Blazer and sweater by Charvet

Update August 10, 2009:

I'm not sure if real women are there yet, but we're headed there. Designers from Donna Karan to Consuelo Castiglioni (Marni) are making bold, if not huge statements with jewelry, particularly necklaces. The collage-y found-object looks are particularly 80s looking to my eyes. It is almost a paean to the 1980s to show watch faces as did Dolce & Gabbana.

Dolce & Gabbana's timely looks

Donna Karan's cool geometrics

Marni's earthy collages

Lanvin's industrial machine parts

Jason Wu stilettos and Neo-New Wave Marc Jacobs

Pretty opulence from Bottega Veneta and Zac Posen

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80s fashion redux, part 5: Male Order

Whether it is with a necktie, a brogue, a crisp big white shirt or a full-blown tuxedo, a recurring idea in fashion is borrowing from the boys. I don't think we are quite at the 80s level of boy-girl dressing, but the theme is alive and well, and in some of the same designers' hands.

Originally posted April 21, 2006:


A woman borrowing from a man's closet was certainly not a new theme in the 80s, but it reached an apex in this decade, and just as distinctly feminine clothing was often highly romanticized, so was the masculine dress (for women) counterpart.

MALE dress borrowed from a theoretical closet, dating from all eras of masculine sartorial splendor. Every woman wore a tie at least once in the 80s, and there were distinctly man/woman tuxes, tailcoats, suits, overcoats and accessories.

Gaultier, the master of the theme

Yamamoto suit, Brooks Brothers shirt, Gene Meyer tie

John Galliano

Gaultier again

and Galliano again, with antique brocade

Elle MacPherson in masculine layers

Updated August 3, 2009:

I can't get enough of this theme, and apparently neither can Gaultier. For Hermès Fall 2009 he has strutted the aviatrix, and I love every second of her old school high-flying style:

Alexander Wang explores the classic boyfriend shirt

and Dolce & Gabbana is finding chic new directions for the tux


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80s fashion redux, part 3: Humor

(In case you haven't read my recent posts, I have been struck by 80s influences while sifting through recent fashion trends, and am reposting my series of blogs about 1980s fashion originally posted in 2006, along with some updates. I started here.)

By the mid 1980s, prosperity (along with, frankly, materialism) may have helped drive a sense of fun in fashion that is almost unparalleled.

Will we develop a collective sense of humor in our style again soon? I think so, if the human need for escapism is still valid. Why else did we watch Busby Berkeley films in the 30s? Fashion does not live by bread-earning alone.


Originally posted April 13, 2006:

Out of alphabetical order here because in many ways Gaultier symbolizes and summarizes other 80s trends while pointing to the 90s. He gets the last word.


HUMOR As in the 1950s, the 80s were just manicured and fashionable enough to allow humor. In the Depression and War years fashion was molded (and often made more beautiful) by the constraints imposed by rationing and lack of materials. Humor would be over the top in that atmosphere. In the 80s, as in the 50s, there was room for a laugh in personal appearance, even in exquisitely made designer clothing. Francisco Moschino was the great master of whimsy in my book (last two photos).



Scarf by Steven Jones for Claude Montana. Shoe by Comme des Garcons by Rei Kawakubo


Outfit by Bazar de Christian Lacroix. Paper hat by Tracy Watts


Update July 28, 2009:

I recently showed off Eric Tibusch's shoe ornament:


For fall 2009 Alexander McQueen displayed a sort of post-fashion gallows humor, as if he had become disenchanted with the forward glance and wanted to pick through the past instead. Still, I had to smile at his umbrella hat (his tires and hubcaps were a bit too much for me, as were his models' overdrawn lips)


If I had to choose a design team displaying a jolly sense of humor without letting the joke overwhelm the clothing, it would be Dolce & Gabbana for fall 2009. Perhaps they wanted to forget the deep recession and the pain from which the high fashion industry suffers, and they would not be unprecedented. The 30s certainly had a heroine of wit in Elsa Schiapperelli, and her influence can be seen in various aspects of D & G's collection (along with the shoe hat of Eric Tibusch).

(Note the gloves scarf)

Outsized photo print of Marilyn Monroe


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