Club to Catwalk in clips

Published 24 July 2013

As the V&A’s homage to 1980s fashion explodes onto the exhibition circuit this summer we’ve pulled together five video clips to get you in the mood before you make your visit.

1. Culture Club, Karma Chameleon, 1983

Boy George and his new wave band Culture Club epitomised the New Romantic look born out of the Blitz club scene in Covent Garden. Party-goers comprised of fashion students and musicians were named the Blitz Kids and the look combined flamboyant, eccentric fashion with big hats and makeup for both sexes.

2. Leigh Bowery documentary, 1986

Bowery was a performance artist, club promoter and designer who made a huge impact in the fashion, arts and club scene throughout the 1980s and influenced many leading cultural figures of the era. He was famous for his extravagant club night 'Taboo' which became the heart of the London fashion scene and celebrity hangout. In 1988 he had a week-long show in Anthony d'Offay's Dering Street Gallery and later became a model for several of Lucian Freud’s portraits.

3. David Bowie, Ashes to Ashes, 1980

Just when you thought you’d seen the back of David Bowie, he pops up again. The video for his Number 1 hit single Ashes to Ashes was at the time the most expensive music video ever made. It featured a host of personalities from the Blitz scene including the pop singer Steve Strange and his Blitz Kids designer Judith Frankland. His follow up 'Fashion' released in the same year perfectly summaries the symbiotic nature of fashion, clubs and music in the 1980s.

4. Vivienne Westwood, World’s End Collection, 1983

The post-punk movement of customization was strong trend in London’s club land, a technique used by Vivienne Westwood in her early ground breaking shows which drew on the themes witches and pirates. You can visit Westwood’s World’s End shop which opened in 1979 on the Kings Road which specializes in special samples and one-offs.

5. Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), 1983

This club classic was the soundtrack to the early 1980s and the Eurythmics breakthrough song. Annie Lennox’s orange crew cut, sharp tailored suits and eccentric style would secure her place as a cultural icon throughout the decade.

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