The big fashion blockbuster exhibition of the summer has opened at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum; “Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s.” That decade saw an explosion in the city’s club and fashion scenes, scenes that were inextricably intertwined. “We’d go out almost every night and I’d wear whatever I could find that was sparkly, then we’d go to work the next day,” explained the designer Rifat Ozbek at this week’s opening. The famous clubs that defined those years - Taboo, Circus, Blitz - were the influence on the trends of the time, New Romantics, Hard Times, Glam, and the pieces on display are from the ’80s most cutting-edge and cool designers, the great names like Westwood, Galliano, Katharine Hamnett, Conran and Paul Smith. The legendary magazines that covered the scene and pushed its new street look - The Face, i-D and Blitz - are exhibited too. A jacket belonging to Leigh Bowery, the performance artist and club promoter so famously painted by Lucien Freud, and a name indelibly associated with the scene, is one of the exhibition’s star turns. Created in collaboration with Blitz magazine and Levi’s, this 19-pound jacket has hundreds of dazzling gold pins used as the fringing. It was Bowery, after all, who on founding Taboo in 1985 had the club doorman hold a mirror up in front of the faces of would–be club goers and ask: “Would you let yourself in?” Well, would you?
Contributing Editor: Richard Dennen