Why we can’t get enough of the ’80s right now

Power shoulders at Gucci.

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Blade Runner is back in the cinema, the long-awaited reboot to guilty pleasure vehicle, Dynasty, landed this month (to rather lacklustre reviews), and you can barely moonwalk for all the women wearing boxy, over-size, plaid blazers, probably with shoulder pads. 

Yes, after the seemingly never-ending fashion world obsession with the ’90s, the ’80s – with all its glorious excess, stiff glamour and unabashed ambition – is finally getting a moment in the sun.

To be fair, it has been building for a while.

There was Nicolas Ghesquiere doing bubble skirts for Louis Vuitton before everybody else did this season. Anthony Vaccarello was all about sexy ’80s silhouettes heavy on velvet, sequins and leather for his second collection for Saint Laurent this year, and at Australian Fashion Week in May, power sleeves were everywhere. As for statement earrings? They’ve never been bigger. 

This feeling (Oh, what a feeling!) was explored further at the most recent collections last month, with the likes of Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Gucci and Saint Laurent all experimenting with key trends from fashion’s oft forgotten era – bubble gum pink, acid green and yellow, puffed-up taffeta, oversized Working Girl-esque tailoring and bubble hems of the ilk last seen at your blue light disco and paired with fingerless lace gloves and an almighty crush on John Cusack.

As fashion editor Jess Cartner-Morley said of the hair styles at Gucci this season (but a statement that also blanket covers the general vibe) it was a whole lot, “Farrah Fawcett sticks her hand in a plug socket”.

This aesthetic – of unabashed ambition and take no prisoners glamour – feels appropriate at a time when women are banding together to speak up about sexual harassment and taking a stand against the gender pay gap.

The key to the trend’s redux, at least aesthetically speaking, says Vanessa Spence, ASOS’ womenswear design director, is taking it all down a notch. Less “’80s night for the parent teacher annual school fundraiser” and more a nod to the era. Yes, that probably means leaving the legwarmers at home.

“The ’80s trend for 2017/18 is subtler than the original. It’s about taking elements of the ’80s and mixing it with current trends, rather than wearing ’80s head to toe,” says Spence.

“We have taken ’80s pop brights and put them into the key shapes of the season, which makes [it] more wearable.”

Spence says the rise of sportswear brands championing the ’80s, such as Reebok, is another contributor to the current ’80s fashion influence. 

Other big sellers for ASOS have been anything with a “shoulder focus” and suiting in “’80s pop bright colours”.

Eva Galambos from luxury boutique Parlour X says the impact of cult fashion labels such as Vetements and Balenciaga (both currently helmed by designer of the moment Demna Gvasalia) referencing the past is resulting in pieces that are right for what women want to wear now.

“The ’80s managed to do exaggerated lines and bold staples in a sexy way. Similarly today, everything has to have a very feminine and sexy edge otherwise women aren’t wanting to wear it.”

Galambos sees the ’80s as best experimented with by pairing touches of it with pieces you already have in your wardrobe. 

 “[You] can effortlessly and subtly adopt this trend into [your] existing wardrobe either by dressing it up or down – we like to call it ‘pulled-together chic’,” she says. 

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