Greed Isn’t Good, So Why Is the ’80s Look Being Revived in Fashion?.

According to some fashion historians, the 1970s was “the decade that taste forgot.” In fact, ’70s bohemianism has aged rather well. Where would festival girls of more recent vintage have been without the stylings of the era? Flower crowns eventually wither. More recently, designers have turned to the theatrical flourishes of the ’80s, aka the Greed Decade, resurrecting the big shoulders, bows, and bluster of a time when money talked—loudly—and masters of the universe rubbed shoulders with social X-rays, and maybe an artist or two, on the charity circuit. The more-is-more bravado of the ’80s, which was skewered by Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities, satirized by Tama Janowitz in Slaves of New York, and eulogized (perhaps too soon) by Whit Stillman in Metropolitan, has spread from Washington, D.C., to the catwalks.

Eighties nostalgia was in excelsis at the recent couture shows, where homages were paid to the design bigwigs of the era, including Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Claude Montana, and Thierry Mugler, as well as Dynasty’s go-to, Nolan Miller. Hedi Slimane, it could be argued, was in on the act early. After back-to-back Saint Laurent collections that translated grunge for cash-rich millennials at Saint Laurent, the designer abruptly changed course, diving headfirst into the ’80s for his YSL swan song, sending models who looked like extras from Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video out in micro-minidresses with asymmetrical ruffles or stiletto-sharp shoulders. Fast-forward to Fall 2017, when a month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Marc Jacobs turned his focus to the youth/street aspect of ’80s dressing, having been inspired by a documentary called Hip-Hop Evolution.

Alexandre Vauthier, Ronald van der Kemp, and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli were among those who celebrated excess at couture week in January. Were they indulging in nostalgia, or holding up a mirror to these crazy times of one-upmanship and strife? The answer might depend on what side of the aisle you stand.

Above, a look at the ’80s, now and then.

Pierre Cardin Fall 1982; Saint Laurent Fall 2016

Carolyn Holles and Crispin Hume-Kendall at Royal Ascot in 1986; Off-White Spring 2018

Emanuel Ungaro Fall 1986; Tom Ford Spring 2018

Emanuel Ungaro Haute Couture Fall 1986; Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2018

Thierry Mugler Ready-to-Wear Spring 1989; Alexandre Vauthier Spring 2018

Emanuel Ungaro Fall 1989; Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2018

Grace Jones in Issey Miyake in 1983; Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2018

Cher in 1985; Faith Connexion Fall 2017

Studio 54 in 1980; Helmut Lang Spring 2018

Marpessa in Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Fall 1987; Off-White Spring 2018

Madonna in 1984; Moschino Spring 2018

A look from Emanuel Ungaro in 1982; Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2018

Grace Jones in 1984; Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2018

Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Fall 1989; David Koma Spring 2018

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