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August 2 2014

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1 posts tagged "Ter et Bantine"

Seventies Chic, Eighties Excess—Here’s Where It All Started

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Fashion wasn’t built in a day. The industry obsessed with what’s new and what’s next has, of course, a long history, and no one knows it better than Olivier Saillard, curator at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. (In May, he’ll decamp from the Louvre to take a post at the Musée Galliera, Paris’ museum of fashion.) Saillard’s latest show presents “an ideal history of contemporary fashion” of the seventies and eighties, seen through films of the era’s shows and television reports. The curator spoke to Style.com about the scandals and successes of the period, as well as the holy grail of eighties shows—the Paris debut of Comme des Garçons, of course.

What was going on in fashion in the seventies and eighties?
The exhibition starts in 1971 with Yves Saint Laurent’s collection Hommage aux Années 40 [Homage to the Forties, pictured]. It caused a scandal in France. The short skirts, broad shoulders, and platform shoes [of the 1940′s] were a reaction to the Nazi occupation of Paris during WWII. Frenchwomen made skirts out of their curtains, wore men’s tailored jackets, and put their hair in turbans. The look was arrogant, rather than the neutral style one would expect from the women of an occupied country.

The collection was scandalous in France because YSL’s couture clients in ’71 did not want to remember what they had lived through and the clothes they had worn. It was their daughters, young women like Paloma Picasso, who had started wearing forties clothes from the flea market and turbans, that inspired Saint Laurent. This show went on to inspire Jean Paul Gaultier, who turned the forties into eighties style, and [later] Maison Martin Margiela, who evoked the forties in the nineties. Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 collection was the first time the forties had been revived in fashion, although Karl Lagerfeld at Chloé was doing collections inspired by thirties Art Deco.

Do you have favorite shows from the time period?
My favorite show from the seventies is the Spring 1972 group show with Kenzo, Dorothée Bis, and Chantal Thomass for Ter et Bantine. Jacqueline Jacobson of Dorothée Bis and Chantal Thomass were both immensely popular designers at the time. The show was held at Salle Wagram, an old Paris dance hall, staged by Argentinean director Alfredo Arias with Donna Jordan [a seventies model and Warhol superstar] as the guest star. The fact that these designers showed together was amazing—I don’t think that could happen today. And my favorite from the eighties is Marc Audibet’s Fall 1986 show. Audibet introduced elasticity in clothing. He perfected the use of Lycra and put stretch into the fashion vocabulary. His vision was romantic and completely different than the S&M hourglass chic of Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana, which reigned at the time. And Audibet’s show featured a new soundtrack for fashion, the spellbinding, repetitive music of contemporary composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

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