Although the 1980s may be best known for its ridiculous shoulder pads and even worse perms, the folk living it up in alternative London clubs at the time cut an altogether more stylish jib. The Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s exhibition at the V&A showcases the bold looks that emerged from the capital’s eclectic club scene and influenced the experimental fashion designers of the decade, including Betty Jackson, Katharine Hamnett, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano.
1980s club fashion was all about experimentation and risk-taking. It is no coincidence that this exhibition will run alongside the immensely popular David Bowie is – Bowie wore some of the most outlandish and iconic outfits of era.
This symbiotic relationship between music, club and catwalk defined 1980s fashion – London nightlife was bursting with variety, with different tribes championing their own unique look, and designers both contributed to and were inspired by this fashion melting pot. The exhibition displays familiar styles from the New Romantic, goth and rave crowds, as well as lesser-known masculine Hard Times looks, which were characterised by ripped jeans and studs – all set to a catchy soundtrack of dancefloor favourites.