Saturday, 13 April 2013



Body Copy:


1985 was a powerful year for Britain. On the 15th of November Margaret Thatcher and Garret Fitzgerald, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, sign an agreement based on Northern Ireland. Thatcher at the time was a very powerful woman, and was an icon in her own right.

Live Aid took place in London on the 13th of July, and lasted for a total of 16 hours. It was the event that started a revolution to change the world and stop famine, and since, many other festivals and charity organisations have taken place for similar causes. It was arranged by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for the Ethiopian famine, and was done in such a clever, unforgettable way. The event, nicknamed, “Global Jukebox”, was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, and the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Pennsylvania, USA. Overall 172,000 people attended and 1.9 billion people watched it live on TV, across 150 nations.  

’85 was a big year for the arts and culture. The Saatchi gallery opened in London, showcasing the finest pieces of art. The ‘Les Immateriaux’ exhibition created by Jean-François Lyotard’s and Thierry Chaput’s at the Pompidou Centre, confronted the topic of the “postmodern condition”. Lyotard once said that he chose Les Immatériaux as a tool with which to bring visitors ‘into the dramaturgy of postmodernism’, throwing together signs, sounds and technological artefacts as part of a bewildering display.” It was a contemporary art show, and this was new for most at the time. Meanwhile, Jeff Koons held his first solo exhibition, and Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquait held a joint exhibition.

Fashion designers began to become extremely postmodern in design and textile choices, emphasizing the female form for sex appeal and power through clothing. Thatcher became a style icon, and gained a nickname of ‘The Iron Lady’ for her strong, solid exterior, but feminine charm, wit and taste.

Sub-cultures began to arise through hangout spots and musical influences. Piazza San Babila in Milan became the rowdy ‘in’ place for punk and ‘paninari’ types, known for their apolitical and consumerist attitudes. Other sub-cultures included the nostaligics, extremists and occasional violent groups, as well as new romantics and rockers hanging out at The Palladium Club in NYC.

Jean Paul Gaultier sends male models in skirts down the runway for his spring “Et Dieu Créa L’Homme” collection in 1985.

“When I dressed men in skirts,” Gaultier says, “it was because the point of view was again different. We would talk about the femininity of certain actors. Like women as sex objects, men could be sex objects. My provocation was justified. If men are valued for their power and their money, why should they not be for their power of seduction?”

Just like Calvin Klein and Katharine Hamnett, male models were used for their photo shoots and advertisements to appeal to both sexes. Bruce Webber’s underwear ad for Calvin Klein is the epitome of a sex object. Gaultier was just behind them in catching on with the trend, however the 80s was a time when sexuality wasn’t frowned upon as heavily, and homosexuality became a cliché. Cross dressing in sub-cultures such as the New Romantics, left clothing choices open to interpretation of the beholder whether male or female.

Born: 1952, France
First in Vogue: 1952

Jean Paul Gaultier

Gaultier Paris


Jean Paul Gaultier Fourrures

Gaultier Jeans


Junion Gaultier

Jean's Paul Gaultier


The revolutionary Madonna; pop star and fashion icon, came to light in the 1980s. She emerged at the start of the 80s with a “Street Urchin” look – leggings, heavy jewelry, rubber accessories, fishnet gloves and tights, messy hair and ribbons. Madonna popularized many items of clothing through her personal style and stage wear.

During her “Like a Virgin” era, she influenced the fashion choices of females globally, encouraging outwear as underwear and crucifix jewelry. This is said to be “an assertion of sexual freedom and a conscious rejection of prevailing androgynous fashions” of the time.

Madonna combined trends to make her own, mixing new romantic with gym wear and underwear. She became an icon for her music, her charity work, her collaborations and her fashions. Madonna helped give young females empowerment, sexuality and feminism through her clothing choices. It was a conscious effort to rebel against the current, and opt to be experimental, different, edgy and risqué. Madonna pioneered confidence, power and risk taking for females at the time.

She’s the perfect definition of the 80s, especially in the film desperately Seeking Susan – headbands, bows, colour and clashing pieces, put together in a somewhat unorthodox, yet orthodox manner.

It seems however she never knew she would become such an 80s fashion icon; “When my first records came out, the clothes that I was wearing at the time were the clothes I'd been wearing for the past two years in New York...All my friends were wearing all the bracelets and all the necklaces and it was very inexpensive also."

Slightly later on Gaultier designed her cone-bra corset leotard, which influenced fashion, photographers and designers alike for years to come. Many designers have played on the design features for years, and imitations still appear in modern day fashion shoots and publications today; for example, Cameron Diaz for Vogue.

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Body Copy:


1986 saw America attacking Libya, under the control of President Ronald Reagan, and Andrew, the Duke of York marrying Sarah Ferguson. A quiet year in terms of social events, however Nintendo launched the 1st video game, which unknown at the time would spiral a new trend for generations to come.

In Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art was opened, and Andy Warhol created a camouflaged self-portrait.

The grunge phenomenon broke out in Seattle towards the end of the decade, after a music scene broke out introducing the likes of Nirvana, which spoke to its youthful audience.

The term “grunge” is used to define a specific moment in time in the 20th century music and fashion industries. It originally dated from 1972, but didn’t become popular until the Seattle takeover. The sound was described as “a mix of heavy-metal, punk and good old-fashioned rock and roll”.

In the 1980s grunge broke out massively and began to have effects on fashion trends. A ‘DIY’ approach was in swing, with a more thoughtless, experimental and alternative clothing being worn, and teamed with Dr. Martens.

Whilst before the 80s grunge was associated with punk’s anarchic movement, the youth of Seattle were aware of the world recession and the political storms happening globally, but instead it was fuelled by self-expression, frustration and isolation.  

Run DMC had a major influence on fashion in the 80s, especially with the brand Adidas. Like Nike, Adidas were taking advantage of the ‘street scene’, which was dominant throughout the decade, by collaborating with music and the subsequent fashion followers.

In 1986, the hip-hop group Run DMC, were so passionate about the sportswear brand Adidas, they released a track entitled “My Adidas”. They were often photographed donning new, white Adidas classics, and soon after Adidas sponsored the group.

This led to sweatshirts, tracksuits and trainers becoming Run DMC’s trademark look, which led to fashionistas following. “Adidas trainers had been an anti-establishment fashion statement worn with jeans, but in the defiant, label aware 1980s branding took over and an unsuspecting sportswear company found itself at the heart of a current fashion movement”.

However Run DMC, always a step ahead, decorated their Adidas gear in gold chains and jewelry. This also caught on with the street scene at the time in NYC and the Bronx.

Hip Hop fashion and ‘gang-inspired’ clothing emerged at a time when Black Nationalism was beginning to be influential in the rap movement during the late 80s. Fashion and hairstyles were not only influenced by the street movements, and sub-cultures, but by traditional African influences.

Black Nationalist colours became popular within clothing; red, black and green, and were often seen worn by the likes of Public Enemy. In New York at the time, an underground street art culture was vastly growing, influencing personality and style at the time. Many sub-cultures in different parts of the city joined the hype of painting and self-expression during the 80s, and each culture was influenced by their own trends, styles and background influences.

The standard hip hop attire consisted of, jeans, blousy pants, cloth hats, chains, dreadlocks and double-breasted suits. Gold chains were an essential to complete any hip hip look, and for women, models wore “black catsuits, gold chains, big gold nameplate-inspired belts and black bomber jackets with a fur-trimmed hood”. A look dubbed as “homeboy chic”. 

Andy Warhol was known as an icon in his own right for decades. In the 1980s however he re-emerged showing critical signs of financial success. It is said at the time the art market or the “bull market” in New York City was dominated by younger artists such as Jean-Michel Basquait and David Salle, and seeing a space for his abstract pop-art and neo-expressionist work he made a comeback in ‘86 with a self-portrait of himself.

He was previously criticized for his exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York at the start of the decade for having “no depth or indication of the significance of the subjects”. His work was described in his diary as “going to sell” and hence was dubbed a “business artist” losing his charm and power in the art world.

Warhol died a year later on February 22nd, 1987.