London Fashion in the 1980s on Display at V&A

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s Blitz

To provide a snapshot of the most fashionable and creative designers working in London in the 1980s, this summer an exhibition at the V&A will look at how the impact of underground club culture was felt far beyond the club doors, reinventing fashion worldwide. More than 85 outfits by designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett will be on display together with accessories by designers including Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox.

Included are garments by influential 1980s designers, with a substantial amount of menswear designs by Jasper Conran, Paul Smith, Workers for Freedom and Willy Brown who dressed Duran Duran. Textile design played an important part of 1980s fashion, with designers such as Betty Jackson working with design collectives like The Cloth, helping to create the archetypal early 80s silhouette of loose shirts and bold prints.

Club to Catwalk Willy Brown Dress
Dress designed by Willy Brown

London’s clubs in the 1980s acted as a site for the convergence of music and fashion and provided a safe environment in which young people could experiment and mix with those of similar tastes.

Fashion designer Stevie Stewart of Body Map noted that ‘each group of people, whether they were fashion designers, musicians or dancers, filmmakers or whatever, living together, going out together and at the same clubs … had a passion then for creating something new … that was almost infectious’.

Examples of the resultant looks will be displayed, ranging from the exaggerated, exotic styles favoured by the Blitz crowd, through the distressed styles of Hard Times, to the eclectic mixing and individual expression of Taboo, to the dance influenced looks of acid house.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s runs July 10- February 16, 2014. Tickets go on sale in June.

Sketch for Levi Strauss & Co. denim jacket, ‘BLITZ’, by Stephen Linnard.The exhibition shows a display of Blitz denim jackets. In 1986,  Blitz magazine commissioned a group of 22 London-based designers to customize denim jackets provided by Levi Strauss & Co.  – See more at:

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