Monday, June 6, 2011

1980's - a mini-fashion history

(the cast of season 6 of Dynasty)

Love it or hate it - the 80's was a decade that aimed at discovering, promoting, and setting apart the individual. Soap operas such as Dynasty and Dallas made conspicuous consumption fashionable - bulky gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings along with flashy diamonds and pearls became acceptable accessories both during the day as well as at night.

Perhaps the most iconic trend of the 80's was the angular and tailored silhouette of the power suit - thanks in large part rise of shoulder pads. Where as in the 1970's close fitting tops were paired with flared and wide-legged jeans and trousers, the 80's was the exact opposite - skinny legs with wide and often shimmering tops.

This trend gave rise to the much reviled Yuppie movement - as younger people began to rise the corporate ladder their need to demonstrate their new found success became front and center. Designer fashions and fine gold jewellery were an important way to tell the world that you had arrived and that everything - wealth, success, and power - were all at your fingertips.(Large gemstones and even bigger hair)

For the first time in over a decade 'dressing up' and occasion-wear became fashionable again - with those who could not afford diamond and gemstone brooches, earrings, necklaces, and rings pushing a resurgence in costume jewellery - complete with all the diamante jeweller's glue could hold.

At the opposite end of the spectrum was the punk movement which had by 80's more or less reached the mainstream. Born in the 1970's early punk was motivated by anti-materialism and a revolt againts the perceived excess and pretension of mainstream society, especially mainstream music. Dirty, torn, second-hand clothing were punks' answer to the glam-rock that dotted the 70's music scene. By the 1980's fashion designers like Vivian Westwood and Malcom McLaren were producing punk-inspired styles, featuring ripped fishnet stockings, offensive t-shirts, spikes, and BDSM-inspired collars. It wasn't long before punk trends were found in glamorous fashion magazines and other media.

(Adam Ant - voted one of the sexiest men of the 80's by MTV)

But the trend that begs the title for most unique of 1980 must be the New Romantics - epitomized by characters like Adam Ant and Boy George. The New Romantics adopted fictional and factual themes from history and Hollywood - including billowing silken fabric and lace - to create a look that epitomized the dramatic, the flamboyant, and the ever-so-slightly narcissistic. The New Romantics movement peaked in the mid-80's with new-wave bands such as Duran Duran spreading the trend through MTV.
1980's Crystalline Ring by Dino Giannetti - available in sterling silver with a square-cut blue topaz at 18Karat.

This ring immediately reminded me of the geometric-trapezoidal forms that were so popular in the 1980's - for me it recalls the magical landscapes found in those fantastical 80's movies like The Dark Crystal or The Labyrinth. David Bowie!