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April 7, 2016

14 Influential Designers of the Eighties

Many of us are children of the 80’s and fashion in those days was considered both innovative and raunchy by some. While the youth of today may insist on following current fashion trends, custom tailoring and fashion influences of the 80’s continue to thrive in emerging global markets.

The 1980s gave birth to a different breed of fashion designers who started to showcase menswear designs, bespoke tailoring, and envisioned its global appeal. Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Calvin Klein have endured the changing landscape of bespoke custom tailoring and fashion in general. Their name and brand remained influential and iconic throughout the years.

1. Calvin Klein

From launching his designer jeans in the seventies, by the early eighties Calvin Klein was leading the industry in offering more affordable designer jeans to the market. During the eighties his name branded underwear also became popular thanks to his use of print ads and billboards showing models almost naked in exotic poses.

2. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was considered to design the power suit of the eighties. His look was also popular with the preppy set, with his classic polo shirt being seen as essential. His casual yet aristocratic style created a classic look which was a popular with a wide range of social classes and age groups.

3. Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood had already made dresses for the punks of the seventies and because of this she was one of the main designers to influence the New Romantics style. With her first catwalk show ‘Pirate’ in 1981, she started the new romantic fashion of flamboyant historical clothing.

4. Jean Paul Gaultier

After sending of his personal designs to Piere Cardin, Jean Paul Gaultier was hired by Cardin as a design assistant. After working with Jacques Esterel and Jean Pator in 1971 he went on to design his own collection which was released in 1976. Known for mixing cultural topics with French elegance he would also gender mix, notably creating the man-skirt in 1985. His collection shown in the eighties; High Tech (1980), Dadism (1983), Barbes (1985), A Wardrobe For Two (1985), Untitled Collection (1987), The Concierge In In The Staircase (1988) featured androgynous styling, cross breeding, culture shocks, corsets and tin can jewels.

5. Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler understands the phrase ‘sex sells’. Previously a ballet dancer, Mugler decided to turn to fashion instead of Swan Lake. Known for his glamour, sexiness and fetish inspired clothing, Muglerexcelled in the eighties with his exaggeration.

6. Karl Lagerfeld

Founded by Adele Casagrande in 1918, Fendi is one of the Italian fashion dynasties. Beginning as a leather goods shop, Fendi got its name via marriage of Casagrande to Eduardo Fendi in 1925. In 1965 Fendi took on Karl Lagerfeld as creative director who created the iconic double F symbol. The eighties saw a successful period for Fendi with the company launching into a sunglass and jeans collection, their first female fragrance and a sportswear and accessory collection aimed for a younger market. Following this success they also launched a male fragrance.

7. Gianfranco Ferre

Originally trained as an architect, Gianfranco Ferre has been famously compared with Frank Lloyd Wright. With his first show in 1974 and first collection in 1978 he followed with a menswear line in 1982. Known for his voluminous organza shirts, Ferre was appointed artistic director at Christian Diorin 1989. Being told he had only nine weeks to complete, his first collection followed in the same year. His first show for Christian Dior included Grace Jones and Princess Micheal of Kent in the front row. The show was described by vogue as ‘a matter of Dior discipline and Ferre flourish’. On the final day of shows, he was awarded the Golden Thimble, Paris’ highest fashion honour.

8. Issey Miyake

After working with Hubert de Givenry, Guy Laroche and Geoffrey Beene, Issey Miyake returned to Japan in 1970 after various stints in Paris and New York. With a new style happening in Japan as Kimonos and western clothing had mixed, Miyake saw it as the perfect opportunity to forge a new direction. With his first show shocking audiences’ as a girl stripped of her Issey Miyake creation he went on to make his mark during the eighties. Launching his first male collection in 1982, it featured a shirt Miyake had been working on since 1975. In 1988 he collaborated with photographer Irving Penn to produce a book of photographs and during the eighties he staged an exhibition of black silicone models suspended and hidden in darkness.

9. Gianni Versace

Versace worked as a freelance designer for Genny and Callaghan during the seventies which followed on to him creating his first solo collection for Complice in 1975. In 1978 Versace created the Gianni Versace label in Milan which followed on to Versace creating their first advertising campaign with photographer Richard Avedon (which led to a long running collaboration). In 1982 he produced a collection showing metallic garments that helped trademark the company and during the late eighties he designed elaborate stage costumes for Elton John, helping cement his reputation for the future, Sadly in 1997 Gianni was murdered leaving his sister Donatella to succeed him.

10. Yohji Yamamoto

After opening his company in 1971, Yohji Yamamoto came to success during the eighties when he showed in Paris in 1981. Known for the way he uses voluminous garments to wrap and drape around the body in unstructured ways. He caused a furore with the press, with Vogue calling his designs ‘Oblique Chic’.

11. Donna Karan

Donna Karan started her career in fashion with Anne Klein, becoming its head designer after Klein’s death in the 1970s. In 1985 Karen formed her own company with her late husband Stephan Weiss. Becoming known for her elastic bodies, her Essentials line. In 1988 Karen introduced her DKNY collection, targeted at a younger consumer and lower price range, which began an intense growth for the company. With DKNY so successful, other brands and labels were created from in including DKNY Jeans, DKNY Active, DKNY Underwear, DKNY Jeans Juniors and DKNY Kids.

12. Giorgio Armani

Italian executive Giorgio Armani is an iconic clothing designer best known in America for his popular men's suits. With his skills honed and several years of experience behind him, Armani was ready to launch his own label. Following his friend Sergio Galeotti’s suggestion that they open a company together, the two business partners officially founded Giorgio Armani S.P.A. in 1975, launching a men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collection. His clothes were revolutionary at the time, introducing a more natural fit and using a subtle color palette.

13. Franco Moschino

Franco Moschino was a true genius that has marked the history of fashion and communication in the 1980s until early 1990s. Starting out his career, Moschino worked as an illustrator for Gianni Versace. In 1969 he began to design for Cadette, an Italian company. This followed with Moschino opening his own label in 1983 naming it Moonshadow. This quickly led to the launch of Moschino Couture! The first women’s fragrance was launched in 1987. In1988 Moschino launched a less expensive line, Cheap and Chic. Two years later the first male fragrance was launched.

Moschino started to make a name for himself as a ‘self styled court jester’. He began to send models down the runway with appliqué play on words on the clothing. ‘Fashion is Full of Chic’, ‘Ready to Where?’ and ‘Bull Chic’ were all featured on his clothing, mocking classic fashion.

14. John Galliano

Galliano enrolled at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 1981. While in school, he worked as a dresser for Britain's National Theatre, the eminent company in London, ensuring that the company’s thespians looked perfect. His graduating collection in 1984, inspired by the French Revolution and entitled "Les Incroyables," was bought in its entirety by the independent London fashion boutique, Browns. Galliano soon established his own label and enjoyed the support of various financial backers. His collections were both dramatic and intricate, but within just a few years his elaborate visions were squashed by a lack of business prowess. He went bankrupt in 1990.

(via Catwalk Yourself)


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