We’re at an interesting point in the fashion consciousness. We are both preoccupied with the idea of Future Fashion–an idealized utopia of a new Garden of Eden a la Donna Haraway (and most recently noted by Fiona Duncan)–but we’re also hung up on the pre-eminent question of Fashion as Art. And, in particular, ’80s art.
This combination of intellectual idealism leads us to the very literal idea of movement, seen in the ‘80s-esque color blocking at Prada, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Altazurra. The ‘80s were an optimistic bubble of technology and power suiting. Reeboks were still new and unironic. Bold and artificial fabrics and colors equated better and best. It was about upward mobility in career, paired with the literal mobility inferred by tracksuits and velour.
It’s interesting to see how such ideas are being rearticulated now, more than twenty years later. It is in our music (shout-out to St. Vincent and her elaborate, cyborg celebrations). It is in the renaissance of genderfucked club scenes. And it is definitely in our clothes.
As you might expect, the seed was planted in Celine’s Spring 2014 collection.
Philo had a premium mixture of muted—but still quintessentially ‘80s—moments with the above color swatch.
And then she also had these one-hundred-percent-ripped-from-bus-fabric color schemes, which I love. My favorite part of public transit (possibly the only) are the weird, outmoded fabrics. Yes, I know Philo cited something else as the inspiration, but don’t tell me it’s not reminiscent of the inside of a Greyhound.
But to understand the reintegration of prints and patterns that seem almost positively lowbrow, you have to understand where they came from to begin with. The ‘80s existed in a moment between Bauhaus and punk, representative of a kind of plastic luxury everyone could be happy with… and was, for a while. Now, the aesthetic lives on in dying food courts and the aforementioned Greyhounds of the world. The ’80s has been reborn and renewed by some of our favorite troublemakers, in a new form of future that fits what we want now–looser and without the masculine shoulders that plagued most of our mother’s wardrobes. As fashion’s most rote saying goes, what’s old is new again, even if what’s old is the pattern on your neon linoleum floor.
Photos courtesy of T Magazine via The Fashion Law