Fashion: Never gonna give you up
Yes, believe it or not, the Eighties are back again. The decade that sported a mullet haircut and a thousand other sartorial follies has stormed the catwalk, and is now tottering down a high street near you in drainpipes and stilettos.
Wednesday 19 May 1999
This time around the look seems to have stepped straight out of the village hall disco, picking up a streetwise Nineties edge somewhere along the way. It appears to be all about wearing denim drainpipes with scarily high stiletto boots, second-skin leather with lace or fishnet, and even the mullet hair "do", last seen bobbing up and down the football pitch on Chris Waddle, has been reinstated as the new must-have coif. Call it a pre-millennial nostalgia trip or simply a fashionable whim, but the decade that launched a zillion trends, from Soul Seekers to Sloane Rangers, is refusing to lay down and die.
Fashion pundits claim that it has been Gucci god Tom Ford's mega influence over the fashion world, and his on-off love affair with Eighties gloss that has prompted the current revival from catwalk to high street to club scene and back again. A year ago Ford issued leggings (think Fame), clutch bags (Lorraine Chase) and shoulder pads (Krystle Carrington).
It should be noted for the record, even though the clothes won't be available to buy until August, that Ford's obsession continues for autumn/winter with pink and jet panne velvet (Adam Ant), ruching (festoon blinds circa 1983), and lace and leather combos (Madonna).
If any designer sums up the Eighties slick, overtly polished look, it is Ford himself, never without his black polo neck and sweetly smelling of Envy, the aptly titled Gucci fragrance.
But Ford is not alone in digging up the Eighties graveyard. British designers, young enough to have been ungainly jigging around their local discos in the mid-Eighties, have also unearthed wildly differing versions of their favourite decade.
Exhibit one: Andrew Groves' catwalk show, entitled Cocaine Nights, featuring a catwalk heaped with white powder, a dress made entirely of razor blades and white suits with shoulders the size of helicopter landing pads. Don't for one nano-second think of slipping shoulder pads under your jacket, or indulging, yuppie-style, in hedonistic nights out at Stringfellow's. (It's safer and cooler to be seen reading the book Cocaine Nights by JG Ballard instead.)
Alternatively, try exhibit two: stonewashed jeans, parachute silk parkas in emerald green or Jaffa orange, or batwing sleeved tops emblazoned with Club Tropicana prints, all seen on Anthony Symonds' (a self-confessed Eighties fan) spring/summer catwalk.
"I was more interested in using sportswear references from the likes of Body Map and Katharine Hamnett that still look relevant and modern today," says Symonds. "After all, the Eighties weren't just about power- dressing and Thatcher."
Perhaps the best way to achieve the look without having to try too hard is via denim. While stonewash may have been de rigueur 10 years ago, who wants to be reminded of boy band pop sensation Bros? Try dark indigo drainpipes, studded with a flashy silver seam for extra authenticity, pounds 45, by Wit and Wisdom from Top Shop (pictured), or any denim by Katharine Hamnett, since she is the designer who put it on the Eighties style-map in the first place.
Hamnett may have re-issued her customised denim for the Nineties, but for her, that's as far as it goes. "I've been there, done that," she says of the decade which saw her meeting Margaret Thatcher in jeans and a Stop Acid Rain T-shirt. The vintage alternative, if you're already over the rhinestone studded look, is Calvin Klein's recently re-instated white label jeans, first seen in the early-Eighties on Brooke Shields, who famously never let anything else come between her and her Calvin's.
If you're willing and able (or just very brave), there's always Madonna a la Desperately Seeking Susan, minus bangles and crucifixes this time around. Try fishnets and lace body stockings (note: a pair of fishnets can be cleverly customised and worn as sleeves), with lots of glossy leather, preferably in lurid pink or black, though beware the Liquorice Allsorts effect. If that doesn't turn you on, there's Eighties gothic - panda-ringed eyes and anything in black leather and lace, last sported by Siouxsie Sioux, who is also having a revival.
If this is simply all too much trash for those of you with more sophisticated style sensibilities, but you still want to give the Eighties a whirl, it's got to be a second-skin dress by Azzedine Alaia, the Eighties design guru who never went away. Just don't forget the black patent high heels, diamante studded stockings, scarlet lipstick - and the industrial-sized can of Elnett hairspray.
Main picture: Lace body, pounds 17.99, by Jonathan Aston, from department stores nationwide (0116-286 2388); leather skirt, pounds 35, jacket, pounds 95, both by Outer Edge from Top Shop (0171-637 9526); earrings, pounds 14, by Agatha (0171-495 2779)
Below left: Choker, pounds 110, by Jade Inc from Browns Focus, 38-39 South Molton Street, London W1 (0171-384 1907); aertex top, pounds 80, by Seraph from Selfridges (0171-331 1433); denim jacket, pounds 265, by Katharine Hamnett (0171- 823 1002)
Top left: Top, pounds 39.99, by Morgan (0171-383 2888); blue jacket, pounds 109, by Red or Dead (0114-273 7827); jeans with silver side-seams, pounds 45, by Wit and Wisdom from Top Shop, as before; boots, pounds 60, by Faith (0800 289297)
Below: Fishnet tights worn as sleeves, pounds 3.99, by Jonathan Aston, as before; fishnet dress, pounds 32, by Miss Sixty (0171-700 6470); top, pounds 24.99, by Morgan, as before; leather trousers, pounds 55, by Outer Edge, as before.
Photographer: Anna Stevenson
Stylist: Holly Wood
Make-up: Firyal Arneil using Christian Dior
Hair: James Mooney at Windel using Bumble and Bumble
Model: Erika at Bookings
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'