March 1, 2009 / 3:45 PM / 10 years ago

1980s fashion inspiration spreads to Milan catwalks

MILAN (Reuters) - Looking to the 1980s for fashion inspiration has spread to the Milan catwalks, with Italian designers playing with the decade’s bold style for next winter’s womenswear.

A model displays a creation by Italian designer Giorgio Armani during his Fall/Winter 2009/10 women's collection show at Milan Fashion Week February 27, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

At New York fashion week last month, designers looked to 1980s-style power dressing, bringing out broad-shouldered jackets, high-necked blouses and careful pleats. There was also a strong focus on shoulders at London Fashion week.

At the Milan autumn/winter 2009/2010 shows, top names have also turned back in time, with a slightly more playful twist.

The doyen of Italian fashion, Giorgio Armani, looked to update 1980s fashion with glossy fabrics and shiny patent black caps and long gloves at his womenswear show.

He studded little black dresses with diamente ornaments at the front or on the side, and put sparkly beading all over longer evening gowns. Boots were also embroidered.

“I wanted a strong, determined woman,” Armani was quoted as saying by Italian paper MF Fashion. “I played with proportion, with credits to the ‘80s to define a new classic.”

Gucci’s glitzy collection also seemed a throwback to the 1980s, with the clothes said to be inspired by “a glittering, glamorous time, when going out was a way of life.” The line was rooted in the style of then fashion icon, Tina Chow.


Evening wear shimmered, with short crystal studded dresses. Suits were encrusted with crystals, some with animal prints.

Tops were brought in at the waist with a belt or hung loosely over lycra leggings or over the knee skin tight boots with spiked heels.

The basic palette was dark but black tops or dresses were offset with flashes of blue, purple and fuchsia pink while other fabrics were shiny and sparkly, giving out a disco feel.

Silk jogging trousers and hooded tops were mixed with more formal pieces and Giannini also showed off silky jumpsuits.

Blumarine’s Anna Molinari used bright colors for her designs — bubble gum pink, yellow and pale blue — for long flowing chiffon evening dresses or tiny shorts and jackets.

She set the scene using an Andy Warhol-style print of herself as the backdrop and sent out models in colorful leopard print leggings and frocks. She finished the look with stand out crystal bangles and necklaces.

“The trends that are happening in Milan are a continuation of what we have been seeing in New York. There’s certainly an ‘80s moment going on,” Ken Downing, fashion director at U.S. upscale department store Neiman Marcus, told Reuters.

“The ‘80s movement has certainly moved across the pond. A strong shoulder is going to be an absolutely necessity for women and their wardrobes for the coming season.”

Gianfranco Ferre designers Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi chose small waists and square shoulders, while on Sunday Mariella Burani showed a puffed shoulder bolero.

Also showing on Sunday was Roberto Cavalli who studded short dresses and skirts and teamed them with very high skin-tight suede boots with steel heels. “You need to attack in order to win. I have declared war on the (financial) crisis,” he said.

Around 80 fashion houses are sending their models down the catwalk this Milan fashion week, which ends on March 4.

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