Time is a great healer, or so we thought. Just when we believed the style aberrations of the Eighties had been cast aside, long forgotten and forgiven, the trend pioneers felt the urge to revisit the bad taste era. Whether you condone the Eighties renaissance or not, this season’s new Autumn/Winter collections - both in fashion and the home - revisit the era. Interior ghosts like neon tables, furry phones, glitter cushions and shagpile carpets from decades past have returned to haunt us.
Every few decades, fashion trends come back, gain momentum and re-emerge. So when crop tops, neon high top trainers and acid wash denim leggings started creeping into the fashion world last year, critics took notice. "A bit like Sleeping Beauty, they [the Eighties] have been roused from their fashion coma by the mwaah-mwaah air-kiss of style," says fashion writer Hilary Alexander.
Back in February this year, fashion designer Marc Jacobs kick-started the Eighties revival from it’s deep slumber with his A/ W 2009 collection. Toying with shiny surfaces, lacquered hair, puffball skirts, batwing tops and power shoulders, Jacobs gave more than a nod to the trend. To confirm the Eighties renaissance, the catwalks of Gucci, Balmain, Versace and Dolce and Gabbana featured lashings of patterned lycra, sequins and garish prints.
"Straight off the catwalk, the spirit of 80’s power dressing has hit the home this season. Don’t fear it’s not the return of magnolia and industrial furniture, but rather taking control of your decorative choices and making brave and confident style decisions," says the latest M&S catalogue. "Make sure everything you put in your home has the 'wow' factor; it's time to get excited about your home."
Back in the Eighties, it was a case of "anything goes" when it came to texture and scale; the more tactile and the more playful the better. Hairspray sold like hot cakes and velvet was the fabric du jour. This season's homeware collections mix and match silks, metallics, velvets, leathers and sequins.
While Calvin Klein recently showed off his new sequined dresses and silver tailoring, the home reacted to the shimmering revival by pushing reflective surfaces. The lacquer collection for Habitat's new collection "Bright Lights Big City" will hit the shops next month. Their Christmas 2009 preview was in a mirrored room twinkling with bright lights, neon ceiling hangings and brightly coloured wreaths. Even trusty M&S is muscling into the Eighties trend with sequined cushions, velvet throws and a patterned Kerala velvet Larson chair.
As the last big party decade, the Eighties was a time to celebrate, be gutsy and brash. The latest collection at Heal’s looks, feels and is branded as Sensational. Unusual textures meet neon colours in an explosion of Eighties mania. Their high shine coffee tables, soft leather sofas, knitted poufs, sleek glass and flocked accessories are all very touchy feely. Think dark, glamorously dramatic jewel colours with shots of cobalt blue, neon pink, glitter and lacquer.
Furniture designer and flocking specialist Johnny Egg's kitsch - and neon - retro range for Heal’s has garnered much positive press. The phone has a surprisingly velvety feel. Egg's process of flocking is not usually associated with furniture production - it creates a tactile coating giving a surreal and dramatic finish.
Hot pink and cobalt blue aren’t to everybody’s taste but Egg's new flocked neon pink phone, an adaptation of the original 706 telephone, is vibrant and lively. Introducing acid brights into your home is the interior equivalent of sporting neon high top trainers; it’s a fashion statement of confidence.
John Reeves' baroque-style Louis Console table has been re-created in a shocking blue lacquer at Heal's. Blinding yellows are a driving force behind Ben de Lisi's designs for Debenhams this season; "I always throw a spin on [a very natural palette] and for me that is bright such as red and this season acid yellow. This gives a feeling of life and boldness without being over the top."
Those who cringe at the thought of the Eighties returning to plague us should lighten up. In defiance of the doom and gloom of the recession, this season’s hot hues, clashing colours and unusual textures are refreshing. Time might be a healer but rules are meant to be broken. And if - like me - it really makes you shudder, just call it vintage.