V&A: Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s

By Jo Phillips

club

The V&A’s latest Fashion exhibition begins 10th July and is their first exhibition to explore the 80s and the impact the decade had on Fashion culture.

The 80s was a revolutionary time that really saw London leading the way in the fashion stakes.  Fashion and music became intrinsically linked with musicians, designers, dancers and other creatives finding themselves drawn to each other by the clubs they chose to frequent at the weekends. It would be common for Central St Martins to be dead on a Thursday and Friday as everyone would be at home making their outfits for the weekend. It was a truly original time driven by the need to look and be unique.

The fear of getting turned away by Steve Strange at the door forced me to rekindle my childhood knack of making clothes, eventually catapulting me into the fashion arena.

Pam Hogg

The show is spread over two floors, downstairs focuses on the catwalk with fabulous outfits for women and men by designers ranging from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood to Betty Jackson and John Galliano to English Eccentrics. Iconic ‘of the era’ pieces such as Leigh Bowery’s jacket fringed entirely with golden hair clips and a John Galliano wool/mohair suit from his Ludic Game collection are among some of the fabulous pieces lent to the V&A for the show.

Upstairs sees the 80s split into tribes and covers all the major fashion movements from Punk to Rave and Fetish to Goth and everything in-between and really highlights how influential the 80s were and indeed still are.

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A soundtrack/video installation produced by Jeffrey Hinton is a highlight of the exhibition, truly capturing a feeling and a moment with footage  from the most influental clubs at the time  such as Circus, Taboo and Asylum . The installation is poignantly  dedicated to “all the shining stars we have lost to AIDS.”

Club to Catwalk will run from 10th July until 16th February and for more information go here.