NOW WAVE Sud­denly the 80s has swung back around.

There have been sub­tle signs of its resur­gence, but sud­denly the 80s has swung back around.

VOGUE Australia - - Contents -

They’re back. The 1980s, the era that came ca­reen­ing out of the drap­ery and bo­hemian fuss of the 70s and woke up the zoned-out masses, has de­fi­antly re­turned. Turn any which way this sea­son – Mi­lan, New York, Paris – and the decade that was about as con­spic­u­ous as they come has tipped past crit­i­cal mass. There were hints of its im­mi­nent ar­rival. The all-see­ing J.W. An­der­son sign­posted a fash­ion flash­point sev­eral sea­sons ago, swerv­ing away from the pack to put the era front and cen­tre in the form of Lurex, lamé and leather. Hedi Sli­mane’s glitzy swan­song at Saint Lau­rent did its part to keep things

sim­mer­ing. Track to now, and the era is de­fy­ing its bad rep­u­ta­tion. “I say, a bit of bad taste,” the house’s new cre­ative head An­thony Vac­carello de­clared back­stage, seam­lessly tak­ing up Sli­mane’s glam­ourladen ba­ton. With sexed-up leather and am­ple flesh framed in sequins, Vac­carello didn’t bother with mys­tery. Nei­ther did Hum­berto Leon and Carol Lim at Kenzo, with lac­quered ap­ple-red pants, or Ro­darte’s Mul­leavy sis­ters, who served up scrunchy leg-of-mut­ton-sleeved prom dresses.

The as­pects of the era some might choose to for­get were the very same ones de­sign­ers chose to delve into. Brash colours were fever­ishly em­ployed by Ba­len­ci­aga’s Demna Gvasalia in ma­genta and elec­tric pur­ple Span­dex, at Emanuel Un­garo in grass-green party dresses and in Sies Mar­jan’s as­sertive left-of-pretty pal­ette in neon and clash­ing pas­tels.

Else­where, the era’s ethos of em­pow­er­ment was re­vived. Bulked-up tailor­ing at Louis Vuit­ton, Ba­len­ci­aga and Haider Ack­er­mann were about get­ting down to busi­ness. These are clothes that al­low power women, much like Maripol, the cre­ative poly­math who styled Blondie and Madonna and went on to be­come art di­rec­tor of then It brand Fiorucci, to ex­cel to­day.

Shape-wise, the theme con­tin­ued in jut­ting one-shoul­dered dresses and an­gu­lar sil­hou­ettes (Gucci, Saint Lau­rent) that had Claude Montana-like bois­ter­ous­ness. Skirts are short, stilet­tos ul­tra-high and fab­rics hy­per-glossy.

Why now? So­cial-po­lit­i­cal ten­sions are run­ning hot. Pow­er­ful looks and the cer­tainty they tele­graph can make us feel se­cure, or at least put some zip in our step; the idea that outer chaos can bring in­ner self-pos­ses­sion. What it is at its best is a re­turn to fash­ion for fash­ion’s sake. “At the be­gin­ning, Saint Lau­rent was girls hav­ing fun, break­ing the rules,” said Vac­carello. It’s time to in­voke that spirit. Al­ice Bir­rell

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