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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 7: The Opulent 80s

(This is the seventh 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.)

In my post from 2006, I wrote that the 80s were years of opulent, conspicuous finery. The 1950s were reincarnated in haute couture details and feminine lines, and no one designer symbolized this trend so thoroughly as Christian Lacroix.

This year, ironically, Lacroix himself is struggling for the survival of his design house, even while designers seem deeply influenced by his work. Marc Jacobs in particular seems entranced by the party frock à la Lacroix.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton
Originally posted April 26, 2006:It almost goes without saying that 80s fashion experienced a renaissance of glamour and OPULENCE. It allowed the nouveau riche to feather themselves finely, even conspicuously. Party clothes were most spectacular, and couture looks permeated all the clothing markets.

In the atelier of Christian Lacroix, exquisite embroidery and beading were hand sewn--a return to traditional workmanship fit for a queen.

Lacroix
Victor Edelstein gownShoes, Antologia for CallaghanGlove, Christian Lacroix for Diego Della Valle. Silk parasol by A. Sanoma
Dress, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. Purse, Pellegrino for Linda Dresner. Shoes, Stuart Weitzman

Update August 7, 2009:I end this with the sad irony I mentioned earlier: Just as opulent 80s-style party dresses are being revived by fashion designers, the master of the form stands with his future in limbo. In 2009 Christian Lacroix's fashion house, owned by duty-free retailer Falic Fashion Group, put the business into administration and laid off all but 12 workers.

Sarah Mower, writing for Style.com
, movingly described the last minute and shoestring-budgeted Lacroix haute couture Fall 2009 show as

one of the most poignant and emotionally fraught haute couture shows ever...only made possible by the collective will and donated time and skills of the seamstresses, embroiderers, jewelers, milliners, and shoemakers loyal to Christian Lacroix...Only the models were paid—€50 each, according to French law — but they too ended up in tears. "I didn't want to cry," said Lacroix, amid a standing ovation and a tumult of support from clients. "I want to continue, maybe in a different way, with a small atelier. What I really care about is the women who do this work."
His color palate was, for Lacroix, monumentally restrained, but the beauty, refinement and sheer loveliness (to use a 50s term) made this show, along with his ready to wear line for fall, preternaturally à la mode.
Lacroix ready to wear

Lacroix haute couture


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