Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s
10 July 2013 – 16 February 2014
An exhibition celebrating the rise in club fashion in the 1980s and the designers who perpetuated it, from punk queen Vivienne Westwood to slogan princess Katherine Hammnet.
Glitter, latex, rubber and crimped hair, the 80s club scene was all about making an appearance and if you were as eccentric as Leigh Bowery, virtually suffocating yourself in the process. Rubberised gimp suit anyone? This exhibition charts the designers whose clothes evolved out of the bowels of venues such as Taboo onto the sleek catwalks of New York.
ID Magazine and Blitz became the fashion bibles, documenting new styles from studded biker jackets to dresses for men. Boy George and Toyah rocked Japanese fusion, while Pam Hogg’s androgynous garb kept people guessing. Goths, ravers and fetish rubbed shoulder pads with high camp and the New Romantics.
All in all this show reveals a rag-tag era of exuberant creativity from a collection of underground experimenters born to party.
Highlights include the fashion designer Helen David’s early creations for English Eccentrics, the eclectic label that used nylon netting and Dadaist imagery to create extraordinary clothes.
Also on show are early designs by the St Martin’s graduate John Galliano, in particular his tattered checked creation Fallen Angel suit from his degree show Les Incroyables inspired by the French Revolution.
Finally there are Lyrca stretch outfits by Bodymap, the ergonomic label run by Stevie Stewart and David Holah that evolved out of collaborations with the choreographer Michael Clark.