Excitement is in the air at the Team LBD office this week as the Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s exhibition has launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Unlike previous 1980s exhibitions that have commemorated the legwarmers, shoulder-pads and leotards of the decade, Club to Catwalk is tightly focused on the underground subcultures that blossomed in the big smoke of London. The exhibition – which acts as a sequel to the David Bowie retrospective — was a massive five years in the making and showcases a whopping total of 90 weird and wonderful outfits from the likes of Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and Katharine Hamnett. Club to Catwalk will run from 10th July 2013 – 16th February 2014, so you have plenty of time to get involved and take a journey through the archives of fashion history. And if you head over to Twitter, we’ve got two tickets to give away!*
The 1980s gave birth to a new generation of provocative and unapologetic designers who revolutionised the blueprint for fashion design. Fashion and music became inextricably linked in a decade and city where the clubs became catwalks and the catwalks became clubs. Think Madonna and her little black tutu and lace leggings, Adam Ant’s theatrical attire and away from the music scene, even Princess Diana’s elegant but oh-so-retro wardrobe of frou frou gowns and strapless black dresses, and you’re on track. By impersonating on the runways the fashions that were paraded nightly on the London club scene (or on royal outings if you were Princess Di!), the designers of the 1980s made fashion a team sport — and everyone who was anyone wanted to be a participant!
Whilst Club to Catwalk celebrates the underground fashions of the 1980s, the decade also symbolised a revival of the iconic LBD, with the little black dress becoming the motif of angst and rebellion. By incorporating sheer mesh cut outs, lace detailing and PVC, the LBD graduated from the simple, demure, calf-length dress designed by Coco Chanel to become an instrument of expression and provocation.
Club to Catwalk shows that the sartorial creations of the 1980s are not confined to the dustbin of fashion history; rather, as is shown by the effect of the adaptations of the LBD they continue to spark our imagination and inspire the fashions of today.
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s is at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 10th July 2013 to 16th February 2014. Entry to the exhibition is £5. To book visit www.vam.ac.uk or call 020 7907 7073 (booking fee applies).
*One winner will be picked at random on 25th July and notified by direct message.