A few weeks ago Helen and I were sent invites to check out the ‘Club to Catwalk’ exhibition at the V&A in South Kensington. This was right up our street, predominantly based on the 1980’s fashion and club scene, we were there before you could say ‘Karma chameleon’!
It was an era when the underground club culture went far beyond the club doors reinventing fashion world wide. The V&A plays host to more than 90 outfit’s that are on display from design talents including John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett, together with accessories by Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox.
Some pieces on display at the exhibiton
The Catwalk section gives us a snapshot, of the most creative designers working in London in the 1980’s with a display of Blitz denim jackets. Other cases display a substantial amount of menswear by influential designers, Jasper Conran, Paul Smith and Willy Brown who dressed one of my fav 80’s bands, Duran Duran….oh yeah!
Duran Duran back in the day.
One of the best parts of this exhibition was ‘Bodymap’, founded in 1982 by Stevie Stewart and David Holah. Their blend of form fitting knits, layered stretch jersey and rhythmic print had, as one fashion editor puts it, ‘sprung from the streets, sharpened in the clubs’.
We also loved the John Galliano menswear ensembles from his 1985 Fallen Angel collection along with a pink muslin dress from 1986.
The club goes hand in hand with the catwalk as it was the club where people of similar tastes, could mix and experiment, in a safe non-judgemental environment. Looks on display include the individual expression of Taboo, to the dance influenced looks of aciiiiiiiid house! Taboo got its name because ‘there’s nothing you can’t do there’. Leigh Bowery became the ringmaster of a carnivalesque nightspot where parodying the norms of everyday life and ‘fashion’ was encouraged. Clothes designed and worn by him are featured along with fetish wear by Pam Hogg and Vivienne Westwood.
The atmosphere of friendly and fun clubs like Shoom and Spectrum began to be reflected in much more casual styles being worn, baggy t-shirts, dungarees and not forgetting a big yellow smiley!
‘Party people’, spot a very young Clive Henry, far right!
You’ll notice there’s also a small club-like area within the space that streams music and film footage of clubs from the 1980’s compiled by Jeffery Hinton.
All-in-all this is a great little exhibition if you’re fanatical about fashion and how it’s strong fusion with music, made the 80’s a great era. Club to Catwlk is in conjunction with Toni&Guy and is just £5. You’ve also got a bit of time as it’s on until February 2014, to book visit www.vam.ac.uk or call 02079077073.
Rave safe kids!