Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s

Fashion often bubbles up from the club scene, and it was London’s clubland culture of the 80’s that produced some of the most fearless and electrifying styles of the era. The looks, including New Romantic and High Camp, defined the decade’s fashion underworld and their metallic and day-glo signatures have been a part of the mainstream fashion conversation ever since.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London captures this symbiotic relationship between fashion and club culture in an exhibition titled Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 80s. Brightly-printed Body Map knits, Katherine Hamnett slogan T’s (“Stay Alive in 85!”) and customized Levis-Strauss jackets – one bedazzled in gold bobby pins by performance artist Leigh Bowery – are displayed alongside footage of nights out at clubs like Blitz and Taboo (where Bowery served as manager). On any given night, a young John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood could be seen showcasing their blooming talent, while even Boy George and Adam Ant wore their own one-off creations. This was a raw and experimental moment in fashion that the V & A seeks to limelight.

The show runs to February 16th at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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