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80s fashion redux, part 11: Finally! Vintage inspirations in the 80s

(This is the eleventh 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.)

Vintage clothing was hot in the 80s. What had gotten going in the 1970s only intensified, and designers were inspired to create new fashions with decidedly vintage style.

Norma Kamali, 1985
Now stay with me here, I'm talking about the influence of previous decades' fashions on 80s fashion, while talking about how fashions of the 80s are influencing current fashion. It can at times be dizzying.

Originally posted May 22, 2006:(I've been just dying to show these photos...I was at home in vintage in the 80s, and some of these photos are much worn from my carrying them around as inspiration. I will limit my remarks and photos, but I would love to go on infinitely...)

The most modern VINTAGE wearers in the 80s didn't so much wallow in nostalgia, but nicked and adapted freely from the past. Fashion in the 80s found its kindred spirit in the 50s so inspirations from that decade were particularly compelling, while the 30s seemed to come in a glamorous second. The 60s were too recent to find great currency (not so much shape any way, but color and pattern), and the early years of the 40s were just a tad too austere for this flamboyant decade.

Edwardian Summer

Flapper Twenties

Margaret Howell white linen shirt and jacket
Starlet Thirties

Dior makeupDonna KaranRandy Kemper
Air Raid Forties

Pringle twinsuit and Armani cuffed trousers
Glamour Fifties

OMO Norma Kamali draped gown. Marabou stole, Adrienne Landeau
Rifat Ozbek stripes and Graham Smith straw hatCoveri blue and silver cocktail frock
Fab Sixties
Stephen Sprouse

Update August 23, 2009:Maybe we are being influenced by the 80s to delve into the past, but we may actually have the 80s beat, with so many designers referencing vintage styles for fall 2009.

Galliano's bright vision of the Edwardian era for Dior ready to wear


20s inspirations from Lanvin and Prada30s from Dolce & Gabbana and Hermès


Alber Elbaz/Lanvin's and Elie Saab's 40s looks
Galliano's take on the 50s, for Dior haute couturePhillip Lim's trip seems to be the 60s British Invasion


The 70s seem to hold less sway over current trends than they have in some time, although I wouldn't be surprised to lift the brim of this hat to find Lauren Hutton:
Ralph Lauren


Now add to these the 1980s, and the 80s versions of previous eras.

It's dizzying...but in a good way.


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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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