The 80s Are Back In Fashion

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Karl Lagerfeld said, “Like poetry, fashion does not state anything, it merely suggests.” That’s a comment worth considering if you’re contemplating getting into the 80s groove that pumped down the runways this season at JW Anderson and Topshop Unique, among others. Even Haute Couture got a dose of big hair and big shoulders, courtesy of Jean-Paul Gaultier, who sent models down the catwalk in jumpsuits and fishnets with cat-eyes. I know the rule of thumb is that if you lived through it the first time, don’t attempt it a second, but there’s something eternally enticing about this high-energy era of big hair, neon brights and exaggerated silhouettes, especially in summer. The trick to reimagining this disco decade (whether you were there the first time or not) is to focus on some of its finer (less fizzy) details.

If, like me, your style is quite streamlined and tailored, then a double-breasted jacket or coat, a thick-belted waist, or some cold-shoulder detailing, is a simple way to subtly nod to the trend – take inspiration from Preen. At Loewe, lamé, lurex and plastic were very tangible reminders of an era when colour, texture and silhouette made equally strong statements within the one outfit. This time, choose one era-defining element; plastic jewellery or an oversized bow (but perhaps not in your hair this time). Neon is not a no-no either. Christopher Kane paired acid brights with textured cardigans to release some of their fizz (because nobody wants to look like a Wibbly Wobbly Wonder), while also pairing a single paint splattered-style top with a black suit sporting graphic cut-out details. It looked completely modern and fresh.

If it isn’t an oxymoron, I’ll be taking a subdued approach to this spirited decade. For me, this time around, it’s less about sparkle and more about shapes, and though neon is back, it’s with less of a bang. But if the prospect of an 80s remix scares you to death, then the future won’t look so bright – the 80s are back with even more attitude for AW16.

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JW Anderson reimagines Princess Diana-style puff sleeves.


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Christopher Kane adds electric blue accessories for a further 80s kick.


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Wayfarer sunglasses, plastic jewellery, a one-shouldered mirrored dress, big shoulders: Loewe pulls off 80s overload.


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Topshop Unique channels Alexis Colby with a furry stole and slipper shoes.


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