The 1980s and the 1990s in fashion are often seen as two greatly different eras with two very opposing aesthetics. The 1980s are remembered by many as being the decade of excess with designers like Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana creating bold, colorful designs with exaggerated silhouettes. The nineties however, are often chracterized by the stark minimalism seen in the work of Giorgio Armani and Jil Sander. In this blog we'd like to show that the 80s and 90s were linked by their freeing attitude towards fashion, with designers being able to be introspective and poke fun at the fashion system itself in a way that hadn't been done before.
Prominent Designers Include:
Christian Francis Roth - created many humorous designs including a collection of 'Rothola' dresses, with one sleeve in the style of a crayon.
Jean Charles de Castelbajac - Created fun, witty clothing for his own label and for the luxury Italian fashion house, Iceberg. Often using existing licensed characters from Looney Tunes, Charlie Brown and Disney etc.
Patrick Kelly - An incredible African-American fashion designer who used surrealism and fun to tackle social and political issues like blackface.
Humorous or whimsical clothing in the 20th century has its roots strongly in the surrealist movement with its irrational placement of unexpected imagery and symbols. It was in the 1930s and 40s that the brilliant fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli that implemented surrealist techniques used by artists such as Dali and Ernst and applied it to fashion. Some of her most iconic surrealist designs include a wedding dress, was made in collaboration with Salvador Dali that was printed with trompe l'oeil rips and fabric strips as tears to create a distressed look and one of my personal favourite dresses ever, her 'Skeleton Dress'. This was a clingy silk crepe gown with trapunto quilting to create 3D 'bone' shapes that are perfectly placed to create a look that is both sultry and grotesque and that looks years and years ahead of its time.
Franco Moschino is a name that you cannot omit when discussing wit and humour in designer vintage clothing from the 80s and 90s. He started his fashion house in 1983 and became a controversial figure known for his use of satire to mock the fashion industry that he was a part of. This was a new perspective for the couture fashion houses that were starting to seem a bit stuffy and rigid and the fashion industry as a whole, which prior to this took itself very seriously. He was famously sued by Chanel for copying one of their suits - he saw that these brands were often bought only as status symbols and so created tweed jackets and suits with huge buttons and trimmings, exacerbating the ostentatious attitude he saw. Another of his great creations harked back to the work of Schiaparelli with its surrealist influences - he took a collarless blazer style jacket (most of his designs used classic shapes and silhouettes with a twist) and placed forks and cutlery instead of buttons to create a literal 'dinner jacket'. His wit and irony was seen in every aspect of his fashion house, with his second line named 'Cheap and Chic'.
Check out this Moschino 'Dinner Jacket', sold by VintageEnMonde on Etsy
Fashion that used humor in the 80s and 90s could either be completely flamboyant and maximalist such as Patrick Kelly's dice suits from Spring Summer 1989 which were printed throughout or appliqued with plastic dice with matching dice shaped headpieces to match. However, a piece could be just as clever and witty without the need for bright colours or heavy accessories, example: Moschino's iconic 'M.o.s. Chi? No!' dress, printed on a simple black bodycon with a clever play on words of the designer's own name. We'll link a few of our favourite humorous items from our store below, including a Moschino dress appliquéd with windows and a door to create the look of a house and a Moschino watermelon dress.
Want to see some of our favourite uses of humour in fashion from 1980-1999? Check out our pinterest board below.
1970s Designer Vintage Dresses - Top 3 fashion designers.
A legend in the vintage fashion industry, Ossie clark is one of the most collectible pieces of 1960s and 1970s desiger vintage. He started his career by designing under the also iconic Alice Pollock's Quorum label. He is known for his incredibly sexy yet elegant designs, often in his signature fabric, moss crepe, or in delicate chiffons. His then wife, Celia Birtwell created the prints for his clothing becoming one of the most iconic designer duos in the fashion industry.
With the bold sex appeal created in the designs of Ossie juxtaposed with Celia's soft, feminine floral patterns, they appealed to glamorous women all over the word with the Ossie Clark woman often being young models, girlfriends of rock stars and cool girls. Today, vintage Ossie clark clothing has the same appeal with beautiful and talented celebrities as varying as Kate Moss, Florence Welch, P!nk, Amal Clooney and Emma Watson all have worn his vintage dresses.
Click hereto shop our collection of 1970s designer vintage dresses, including evening dresses by Ossie Clark.
The Parisian Chloé label was started in 1952 by Gaby Aghion. However, it really became an iconic luxury label in the 1970s after Karl Lagerfeld was hired as the creative director. He designed for Chloé from 1966 but his most iconic era was during the late 60s and throughout the 70s. The beautiful bohemian and playful clothes designed under the Karl Lagerfeld era have become some of the most collectible 1970s designer vintage around. Indeed, the Chloé label is as iconic today for its early 70s youthful and feminine clothing as it was at the time.
You can shop our collection of 70s designer dresses by labels such as clothing by clicking here.
The British fashion designer, Zandra Rhodes is one of the most covetable labels for collectors of 1970s designer vintage dresses. Known for her luxurious fabrics, she is predominantly a textile artist who puts her wearable art on floaty chiffons in bohemian silhouettes. Some of her most iconic collections include the 'Conceptual Chic' collection of 1977 which recognized the punk fashions coming out of Britain in this period and elevated it creating a 'punk couture' look, with cut outs creating a calculatedly distressed design and faux pearls draped in a necklace style, referencing the chains in DIY clothing at the time.
Click here to shop the collection of luxury vintage gowns from the 70s, including items by Zandra Rhodes.
New In: Vintage & Designer Spring Dresses by Chloe, Missoni and Jean Charles de Castelbajac.
We've just listed three great dresses for spring, a romantic choice, a bold piece and a fun dress. Please click on the images to see the products.
Chloé by Karl Lagerfeld
This stunning vintage Chloe silk dress is from the 1970s during Karl Lagerfeld's first tenure as creative director of the label. With the ruffles and lace, this is as relevant for Spring 2019 as it was in the 70s.
This Missoni Spring 2005 dress is a bohemian dream. The lightweight, ombré knit is airy and flattering. The fringing gives a fun, late 1960s hippie inspiration.
You can see the same look in a different colorway on the runway, showing the amazing movement in the video below and on the Fashion Channel's great youtube:
Jean Charles de Castelbajac
This fun Castelbajac vintage sundress is from the 90s in a cool, comfortable cotton knit fabric. It has an amazing Cuban dollar print throughout.
We're delighted to announce that two items of designer vintage clothing from our store have recently been featured in the latest issue of the Maggie Semple magazine, Issue IX, cleverly named 'the Eye of the Beholder'. Styled by Jessica Wykes (@jesswykes) who has an incredible eye and photographed by the extremely talented Leanne Dixon (@leannedixon) - whose website can be found here. The setting was perfect and really showed the best of our items, you can see the ethereal shoot below:
Inspired by the trends of Autumn/ Winter 2016/17 seen recently, our latest collection has a real Fairytale ending. The products in this collection have been carefully curated to add a dramatic alternative to the themes of next season's fashion, with all the quality and individuality of vintage.
For Fall 2016 we're seeing clothes straight from a storybook, with romantic ruffles, Victorian and Renaissance influences, heavy folk touches with embroidery all culminating in a magical, sparkling look straight out of a storybook. Of course, the overarching theme of fashion trends for AW16 is, as it was for the last few seasons, the 1970s, with maxi lengths, embroidery, brocades and velvets all being features of 1970s vintage clothing - so a lot of this collection will include a lot of 70s, but we have a great mix of eras too.
One of the biggest influencers on our fairytale collection has to be Fendi, whose 100th Anniversary collection was undoubtedly one of the most memorable we've seen this year. Even the setting, the Trevi fountain was otherworldly.
As seen above, Fendi's AW16 collection is heavily influenced by fairytales and this particular dress bares a striking resemblance to our Art Nouveau maxi dress by David Gibson of Regent Street, an enigmatic label that produced beautiful, high quality clothing during the era that London was in full swing and paved the way for global fashion at the time. Both of these dresses excellently show how the fairytale theme can be both bold and sophisticated - you don't necessarily need all the frills and ruffles seen lately.
These Gucci dresses are magnificently fairytale
If you do love ruffles however, the fairytale collection is certainly for you. Our Hanae Mori dress seen below has perfect ruffled sleeves in pastel tones that conjure up such romance. Our Ungaro dress has a slightly more Victoriana feel, with gold lace, velvet AND taffeta - a truly maximalist approach to the fairytale theme but with a French elegance.