Monday, August 31, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 13: Gaultier was the 80s

(This is the thirteenth and final installment 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.)

It was my personal conclusion several years ago that Gaultier was 80s fashion. He inspired, he cajoled, he shocked, he amused, he led, and he brought popular interest back to fashion designers in that decade.

Jean Paul Gaultier loved fashion in the 80s. As he stated about the 1980s in Interview, October 2001:
For me it was the dream of my life to do this work. I could do what I loved to do. It was a time of excitement and freedom, and also there was a hysteria [in the air] about fashion. There was intensity because the Japanese had arrived and added a lot of excitement. It was not about marketing and managing and all that. In the '80s the word was creativity.
The list of my favorite 80s trends? Gaultier did them all. If you doubt his transmutation of gender roles or his humor, please watch How to Do That, his foray into music video of 1989:

Originally posted June 25, 2006:

I can't begin to articulate the influence of Jean Paul GAULTIER in the 1980s, but I can try to articulate the way his influence felt on me then. Many deemed him the "bad boy" of fashion, but in so many ways he seemed to me the absolute apex of all that was current in the 80s, completely creative yet centered on the classics. Richly traditional, eclectic, seasoned, and yet well-seasoned with more than a hint of exotic spice. Not a bad boy, more like terribly, terribly good!

In my 80s fashion blogs I've mentioned athletic wear, humor, masculine dress, unconventional beauty, uniform, color, polka dots and stripes, vintage inspirations...look no further than Gaultier for the very most incisive looks of the decade. At times as deconstructing and radical as the Japanese, he also held things together with his Parisian fashion roots. Gaultier also made a great impact dressing Madonna in flamboyant outer/underwear, and creating rich ethnic-inspired clothing.

I love this Elle magazine spread with Gaultier choosing clothing from a range of sources for these eclectic looks (above and below).

Update August 31, 2009:
Gaultier has been up to no bad. His recent styling for Les Echos, using his own and others' clothing designs, shows his stunning inimitability:

Here is some of Gaultier's work for Hermès, and his own ready to wear and couture lines for fall 2009, showing his talent for making eye-opening and absolutely wearable clothing.

And still, Gaultier is outré, provoking, amusing, leading as ever, with incredible variety in one—the same—season of design.

From the 80s through today, viva Gaultier!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 12: Time of the essence in the 80s

(This is the twelfth 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.)

Watches...probably not the biggest influence on current fashion, but one of my favorite style trends of the 80s. They were everywhere then, including up and down my arm.

Underwear as outerwear, a popular 80s theme...and of course there's a watch

Originally posted June 5, 2006:

Of all outgoing accessories in the 1980s, WATCHES were most necessary. Watches appeared in fashion magazines in spreads with bathing suits, wedding gowns, and in every other possible or impossible setting. Vintage watches were used as fashion decor, and man-style watches, along with Swatches and other brights, were extremely popular.

Blazer, Donna Karan, Riding pants, H. Kauffman & Sons Saddlery, Wrist watch, Tiffany & Co., Pocket watch, Obrey

Some of my own 80s watches, including the earliest Swatch I ever spotted (bottom of scan)

Update August 27, 2009:

I have already pointed out a true paean to the 80s circling the necks of models on Dolce & Gabbana's runway for fall 2009

...but frankly, this is more an homage to a time gone by, not current need. Even in the 80s, we were starting—just starting—to get away from watches. Their popularity (and the start of their demise) was due to the fact we no longer had to wind them, and they were cheaply and reliably made. They were very soon superseded by even more amazing technical achievements in the making of personal gadgetry. Now we rely on our smartphones for time, along with so much more information. Perhaps this genre hasn't disappeared, but morphed in form?
Wood concept smartphone, Gernot Oberfell

Sunday, August 23, 2009

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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

80s fashion redux, part 10: The romance of uniforms in the 80s

(This is the tenth 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.)

It felt like another case of 80s déjà vu when Christophe Decarnin reincarnated the rock-and-roller band jacket for Balmain, Spring 2009.

Then Michael Jackson died. Although band jackets were a look of Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, it feels like it's time again for Michael's jacket, with its flamboyance and fantasy.

It is a look I favored occasionally in the 80s, with a very ornamented green and gold jacket that had been worn by a member of my father's high school pipe band in the 1960s. I am a musician and have worn uniforms because I had to, but I adored wearing such a beautiful vintage uniform because I wanted to.

Originally posted May 16, 2006:

Not just any UNIFORM suited 80s style. Uniforms had to be witty, romantic and sharp, without a hint of grunt or camouflage. The regiment could be from any time and any place in history, and often had a distinct sense of humor. Real vintage uniforms were haute-ly pursued.

Christian Dior Haute Couture by Gianfranco Ferre

Genuine vintage uniform jacket from Kaufman's Army & Navy, NYC

Another authentic vintage uniform jacket

Vintage firefighter's jacket

Traditional Welsh Guards uniform

Update August 18, 2009:

For fall 2009, there is a new regiment of fanciful uniform looks, from Phillip Lim's Mod Sousa to Gaultier for Hermès' aviatrices. With Michael gone, it seems there are plenty ready to take up the baton.