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Brief Published: 2 Mar 2012

PFW A/W 12-13: Acceptable in the 80s


A shock direction for the new season, several of Paris’s biggest designers have looked to the 1980s for aesthetic inspiration – a decade notorious for its eccentric, bad taste.

For his second runway season for Balmain, Olivier Rousteing mixed high and low end for a thoroughly wearable collection that oozed rock ‘n’ roll cool. Trousers and jackets were intricately embellished with pearls and crystals, and teamed with low-slung black trousers and cashmere crew-neck jumpers for a dishevelled edge to the couture detailing. So far, so classic Balmain – but Rousteing added an old-school edge with eighties-inspired silhouettes.

Wide, sloping shoulders on hip-length, low-cut blazers and oversized boxy jackets and jumpers were an example of the exaggerated silhouettes seen throughout the season at the likes of US labels Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs, but with a distinctly eighties vibe. Balmain’s take on the decade style forgot was essentially a postmodern reinvention, a re-imagining of the 1980s for the contemporary wardrobe.

Balenciaga was similarly postmodern in its approach to the eighties, with some of the ensembles channelling the Bladerunner fusion of old and new to create the future thematic throughout the collection. Shiny lamé in gold and silver, ruched elasticated waistbands and oversized shoulders descending into wide cocoon sleeves took on a futuristic angle under the direction of Nicholas Ghesquire. Proportions were important for the collection, with oversized jumpers and boxy jackets creating a classically 1980s top-heavy silhouette.

Ghesquire raised the question of taste by sending deliberately ugly pieces down the runway – notably the geek-chic sci-fi satin sweatshirts with quirky space-themed images and slogans such as ‘I am on a weird trip’. Juxtaposed with A-line skirts and structured, angular jackets, the ultimate result was a futuristic take on Robocop retro as Ghesquire re-imagined how we saw the future of fashion from the eighties.

Paris Fashion Week runs until 7 March 2012, and concludes the Autumn/Winter 2012-13 season.

Paris Fashion Week