Written by Alice Casely-Hayford
Posted 22/01/2013
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Denim jacket, 'BLITZ', by Levi Strauss & Co., customised by Leigh Bowery, 1986
Photo: V&A Images


The V&A's major exhibition this summer will delve into London's Eighties club scene focusing on how it influenced and inspired the international fashion world. Over 85 outfits by designers including Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and slogan t-shirt pioneer Katherine Hamnett will be showcased alongside accessories by designers such as Stephen Jones and Patrick Cox.

The ground floor will concentrate on the young designers whose bold and creative clothes projected them into the global fashion arena. The mezzanine gallery focuses on club attire, grouping clothes by significant tribes such as New Romantics, Goth, Rave, High Camp and Fetish. Pieces on show will include those worn by 80s icons Boy George and Adam Ant as well as Leigh Bowery's more radical designs.

London's clubs in the 1980s where a merging point of the music and fashion worlds providing a haven in which young people could experiment and meet with those of similar tastes. Fashion designer Stevie Stewart of Body Map affirmed that 'each group of people, whether they were fashion designers, musicians or dancers, filmmakers or whatever, living together, going out together and at the same clubs ... had a passion then for creating something new ... that was almost infectious'.

As a true reflection of the 80s club scene, the exhibition will also feature magazines from that era like The Face, i-D and Blitz all of which captured and exposed the club and street style to a wider audience. A small club-like area will be created within the exhibiton showing film footage of clubs from the 1980s and stream music chosen by District MTV contributor and DJ Princess Julia.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s will open from July 10 until February 16 2014.

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