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Goths and fetishwear: V&A celebrates club scene of 1980s


The hedonistic partying ways of young starlets like Rihanna have nothing on the club kids of the Eighties – as the Victoria & Albert Museum's summer exhibition will attest.

"Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s" takes a look at the underground club scene and the impact that it had, pushing the boundaries of fashion on a worldwide scale.

It was in London after all, from clubs such as Blitz, Taboo and Hard Times that different tribes such as "goth", "fetish" and New Romantic emerged. Archive pieces from some of the biggest names of the Eighties include Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hamnett, Pam Hogg and Rifat Ozbek, alongside John Galliano.

The eveningwear of Bruce Oldfield and Anthony Price will reflect the more glamorous aspects of 1980s fashion while the customisation and DIY trends will be represented by the jewellery of Judy Blame. Clothes designed and worn by Leigh Bowery – one of the most ringmasters of the scene – will be displayed alongside fetishwear.

There is space too for the style sheets that emerged at the time, such as The Face and Blitz, which brought the trends to those who didn't manage to set foot on the scene.

Part of the display will be a collection of customised Levi's denim jackets, commissioned by Blitz, designed by 22 London-based designers and auctioned off at the V&A in 1986 in aid of the Prince's Trust. Nine jackets are now in the V&A's collection, but the curator of the exhibition, Claire Wilcox, head of fashion at the museum, is on a mission to track down the remaining designs in order to reunite in time for the opening in July.