Los Angeles County Museum Of Art Exhibit

The Eighties:

   If the '70s were about the self, then the '80s were about self-assurance.    Conspicuous consumption was in, and bigger was better.   Fashion bacame a way for women to show off the new power they held at work, at home, and in the gym.   
   By 1980 a new model of femininity had emerged: The "superwoman" was a highly paid executive, mother of two, and weekend aerobics instructor.   Her look was assertive.   For day she wore bold suits by Thierry Mugler with narrow waists, broad padded shoulders, and short, slim-fitting skirts, with high-heeled pumps   In the late '80s Patrick Kelly took the "power suit" to its whimsical extremes.   For evening, women wore glamorous, skin-baring ensembles by Bob Mackie and Christian Lacroix that showed off their physically fit bodies.   Designers emphasized slim waists and long legs with gowns of brightly colored taffetas and chiffons or beads and sequins.
   In stark contrast to this look, designers from Japan, most particularly Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake, brought a distinctly Asian sensibility to Western fashion.   They challenged traditional ideas of femininity not by emphasizing the body, but by de-emphasizing it with layers of cloth and asymmetrical, innovative cuts.   "Deconstruction," as the style became known, began in the late '70s but reached its peak by the middle '80s, influencing both street fashion and couture with its slashed fabrics and echoes of kimono and traditional rural Japanese dress.

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1970's         1990's


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