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28/03/2018

This Stylist and Archivist Wants to Show You What the Real Fashion of the 1980s Looked Like

This much was unequivocally true of the Fall 2018 runway shows: The awesomely big, shoulder-padded extravagance of the 1980s is back. It’s a fashion era that has bobbed in and out of the collective conscious over the years, but now, the ’80s are really in ascendance: superpower suits at Marc Jacobs! Beverly Hills trophy wives at Tom Ford! Glam plaid at Versace! But there is one fashion collector who happens to disagree, at least in part, with all of the chatter surrounding the resurgence of Dynasty style. Ruth Kramer is a stylist and designer based between Frankfurt and Paris who has been collecting rare items by the likes of Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, and Jean Paul Gaultier since the late 1970s. She has no formal background in fashion, other than a passion for unearthing rare vintage clothing, building her archive (which currently boasts over 100 pieces), and designing her own one-off avant-garde wares. Kramer knows the masters of 1980s fashion better than most outside of the inner circle of industry heavyweights, having attended her first Mugler show in 1978 and spent countless hours visiting the ateliers of Montana, Gaultier, Martin Margiela, and more in the years that followed. She knows the ’80s, and she doesn’t necessarily understand what all of the fuss is about.

“When you look at Marc Jacobs’s collection for example, I see the 1930s and the 1920s, not the 1980s” she explains. “At Marc Jacobs or Junya Watanabe, the silhouettes are much looser than those that were popular in the 1980s. The baggy cuts are more indicative of the 1920s and 1930s, not the 1980s where the waists were always tight. The use of layering nods to the 1920s and 1930s, as well. This I saw some of at Tom Ford, in the ruffled dresses, big sweaters, and heavy outerwear over the metallic and animal-print leggings.” She adds, “I think people are jumping too quickly to call this moment a comeback for 1980s fashion trends alone. There are finer details, like the loose cuts and layering, that really come from an earlier time period.” Kramer believes that the industry’s eyes are focused on the era of spandex and side ponytails almost subconsciously, due to the political and social tumult we are currently reliving today, especially in New York. “The shows in New York were a bit more outwardly ’80s than London and Paris and Milan,” she says. “This makes sense when you look at what’s going on in America right now.”

Truth be told, Kramer has never really been all that interested in keeping up with seasonal trends anyway, which is why she’s remained a loyal fan of houses like Comme des Garçons, Kansai Yamamoto, and Junya Watanabe. “The Japanese designers never care about trends, and especially not the 1980s,” she says. “They may start with something like a men’s pin-striped suit from that era but then they are able to completely distress it and take it apart, turn it into something that we’ve never seen before.” Kramer adds, “Being around people like this in fashion, and spending decades sourcing vintage, that’s how I got my education in fashion.” It’s true she isn’t a scholar or editor or trained fashion designer, but perhaps Kramer’s opinion is one we should pay attention to. After all, she lives with the fashion that defined the 1980s—the cinched waist of Mugler’s jackets, Watanabe’s fanny pack, and the sculpted shoulders so associated with Montana. In Kramer’s words, “every designer is constantly hunting for new ideas, but we have to remember that it’s all been done before. It should always be about the designer taking bits and pieces from the past, from various decades and not just one, mixing them together to blend the old with the new so that their clothes don’t look like they belong to any time period in particular—except maybe one that can exist in the future.”Read more at:pink prom dresses uk | prom dresses uk

 

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