Fashion looks back to the weird 1980s with thick shoulder pads

  • Style
  • Friday, 03 Feb 2017

(From left) Prints, wide shoulders, the 80s and statement tees are key trends this season. — Photos: Agencies

Gigantic shoulder pads are having a moment, and so are the 1980s. This year, fashion is looking back to an era that has often been regarded as aesthetically rather weird.

The trendsetter behind it all is Demna Gvasalia, one of the new stars of the international design scene. Other exciting debuts in 2016 included Maria Grazia Chiuri who started with Dior, Anthony Vaccarello with Yves Saint Laurent and Gvasalia as creative director at Balenciaga.

On Feb 10, the eyes of the fashion world will be on New York. Raf Simons will be presenting his very first collection for Calvin Klein at Fashion Week. The Belgian designer left Jil Sander and Dior with his reputation intact.

In Milan the label Marni has to prove itself without its founder Consuelo Castiglioni. And at premium men’s tailor Ermenegildo Zegna, Alessandro Sartori is set to lend a contemporary touch to the classics.

In Paris, the question on everybody’s lips will be whether another label can do what Vetements did and rise to fame almost overnight.

The preceding fashion shows, in the second half of 2016 set the tone for what we’ll be wearing this year. Or are perhaps already wearing.

Balenciaga’s broad shoulders, almost like a caricature, are not the only signs of an 1980s comeback. Bright colours and metallic shimmering surfaces are also in and can be seen in collections ranging from Jil Sander, Kenzo, Celine and Salvatore Ferragamo to Chanel.

Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2017
Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2017

And if fashion wants to be a mirror of the times we live in, how should it behave in this highly politicised period we find ourselves in? 2017 will be the year of the statement T-shirt. The slogans do not all address social issues, but Dior’s “We should all be feminists” shows that designers are looking to take a stand once again.

Nowhere was this more the case than in the United States. Anna Wintour, the influential (or perhaps not as influential as she thought) editor-in-chief of American Vogue, impacted on the election campaign with a Hillary Clinton T-shirt.

Donald Trump’s victory sparked a heated discussion among designers as to whether they would be willing to dress the future First Lady. Up until now, it’s always been an honour – and a boost for a designer’s prestige and career.

New Year’s Eve showed how delicate the issue is.

Image result for 1980s fashion gif

Melania Trump celebrated in a Dolce & Gabbana dress – bought by herself. Stefano Gabbana wrote a short message of thanks on Instagram, which was immediately followed by a heated war of words.

Also, the fact that people around the world are travelling and moving around is reflected in many collections, with trekking sandals, backpacks, pants with detachable pockets, camouflage colours and nylon all popular.

Dior Spring/Summer 2017
Dior Spring/Summer 2017

At the same time, these elements signify a longing on behalf of city dwellers for nature, adventure and travel. The functional outdoor look, which is available for both men and women, is also being interpreted in similar uniform and workwear looks.

Fashion also has a playful side - almost as an escape from reality. For instance, in the first half of this year women will be wearing gingham and retro wallpaper-like flower patterns. The silhouettes are also striking.

Wide belts emphasise the waist and ruffled, balloon sleeves add volume.

For men, the silhouette has moved away from the body, and now it’s all about length – including loose kaftans or djellaba-style robes from Dolce & Gabbana. Faded pastel shades or bright yellow bring freshness to the wardrobe.

There are also punk and sportswear influences. After all, men’s fashion has become just as multifaceted and diverse as women’s fashion. – dpa/Axel Botur

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