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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 2: Business clothing

Right now is a fine time to polish up one's work wardrobe, with so much competition for none too many jobs, along with fears over losing one's job. Unlike in the 1980s, the high percentage of women in the workforce is nothing new. Now we just need to get and keep jobs, and work on the 73-cents-on-the-dollar pay imbalance with men.

Originally posted April 10, 2006:

BUSINESS Although high fashion magazines didn't dwell on business fashion (some would call it anti-fashion), they couldn't completely ignore the throngs of women in the work force...more than ever before in history. Here are some wonderfully accessorized takes on male dress, work wear and traditional clothing. As you can see, if it is from the 80s, it quite likely has polka dots or stripes!

Skirt and jacket by Agnes B.
Dress by Valentino Miss V. Glasses, Anglo American Eyewear

Update July 25, 2009:

For fall 2009, designers produced a surprising number of outfits that would not look out of place getting off the subway at Lexington Avenue and heading into an office building for work. Donna Karan stands out for going back to her 80s roots with plenty of chicly powerful business suits:


At Prada, Miuccia Prada showed some particularly fetching and classic tweeds. See, they're even carrying briefcases!

A briefcase is also in the hand of a runway model in Bottega Veneta leather:


If all these seem a bit somber as compared to our sisters in the 80s, there's always Chanel...



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