We finally had a chance to check out the Club to Catwalk exhibition at London’s V&A museum this weekend, and boy, were we in awe.
During the 80s, London based designers came to be known as the most experimental in the world, and to prove their quirky design credentials, the exhibition featured a special collection of Levi Strauss denim jackets that had been decorated by designers commissioned by the innovative Blitz magazine. One of our favourites had to be the jacket that had been totally transformed with hair grips (right). The most innovative use of them that we’ve ever seen.
The exhibition explores how fashion exploded in Britain during the 1980s — where customization and self-made clothing were key and youths competed against each other in the trendiest of nightclubs with their outfits. Trends bubbled up from the clubs in this way and even made it upon some of the leading runways. Looks in the clubs spread rapidly and everything from exaggerated exotic styles to eclectic mixing could be seen. Just look at the guys below (left), it's impossible to imagine these kinds of styles ever becoming the norm again at our favourite clubs.
Did you know that it was actually the economic conditions of Thatcherite Britain that led towards a hardening of attitudes in fashion and music? And that’s exactly when we saw an arrival of holes in clothing, edgy leathers, and massive boots.
If you do get to see the exhibition, there’s a little submersion room that you have to test out. It’s pitch black like a nightclub, playing 80s style music with its walls filled with videos streaming club scenes. It most definitely makes you feel like you’ve travelled back in time and are part of the era.
Tickets to the exhibition cost just 5 pounds and you can find out more at vam.ac.uk.