The eighties produced some of the most influential men and women in fashion being Madonna, Princess Diana, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, and Michael Jackson. Like never before, musicians became fashion icons and trendsetters. The eighties were known for sex appeal for both men and women. For the men, tanned chests and open collars were in due to the influence of Miami Vice. The young women of the eighties were seen in leg warmers, mini skirts, off the shoulder blouses, chunky jewelry, acid washed jeans, and lace gloves. Princess Diana’s love for fashion and elegant style set a trend for women all across the world.
Diana gained media coverage daily to people all across the world. She was chased by the press for her up-to-the-minute look. Brand labels often produced copies of her latest look which flew off the shelves. People ages thirty five to forty five looked at Diana as their fashion frontrunner. Princes Diana supported many designers including Catherine Walker, Arabella Pollen, and David Emmanuel. Diana’s wedding dress was designed by David Emmanuel in 1981. The dress had very large puffed sleeves, a full skirt, 10,000 pearls and sequins, and a twenty five foot train.
The style and design of this dress set a trend for brides in the eighties. Madonna was a fashion icon that appealed to young women of the eighties. Her outrageous outfits caused controversy and resulted in young girls wanting to experiment with their looks. Madonna’s transformation of looks made her stand out throughout the decade. Madonna was considered the ‘it’ girl of the 80’s. Madonna created many trends which some are still seen today including miniskirts, teased hair, lacy stockings, leg warmers, and chunky jewelry as well as cross pendants.
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Madonna also brought fingerless gloves into fashion in the eighties. She made fingerless gloves look hip, stylish, and sexy. Cyndi Lauper created her own unique style which was influenced by the punk rock look. Cyndi Lauper was known for her sense of color and outrageous hair styles. She often wore bright, colorful makeup including eye liner on both top and bottom of the eyes. Her hair style was short on one side and often had different, bright colors in it that changed on a regular basis. Her fashion sense didn’t follow any rules.
She incorporated as many colors as possible in her fashion in order to not fade in the background. She wore a lot of accessories such as bangle bracelets and beaded necklace. This fit into the eighties over accessorized theme. She was all about having fun and mixing and matching various pieces of clothing that usually wouldn’t be worn together but Cyndi made it work. She was able to influence the way her fans dressed when music videos became visible. Since gaining recognition as a member of the Jackson Five in the 70’s when Michael Jackson went solo in the 80’s his fans went wild.
One of the ways Michael Jackson was able to successfully proclaim himself as the “king of pop” was by dressing like a king. His skin tight leather outfits, shiny black shoes, and sparkle glove, along with his mullet hair style is still a look that is known to belong to Michael Jackson. Fedora hats were also made popular through the use of Michael Jackson. One of the key elements that added to his leather jackets was how Michael Jackson wore the leather jackets. He made the jackets not just look like show pieces, he made them look comfortable. He rolled up the sleeves, owning the look.
He also did this with his tuxedo jackets, rolling up the sleeves. Some celebrities today continue to follow this look by pulling up the sleeves to their jackets such as Kanye West. Debbie Harry quickly became a punk icon. She was known for incorporating humor with the seriousness of fashion. Debbie Harry also known as “Blondie” was recognized for her bold outrageous prints, painted on denim, high heels. Harry combined the cutting edge, bold rocker style with the glamour of Hollywood. She remained very popular throughout the decade of the eighties.
Fashions of the eighties will be remembered as bold, bright, and bodacious. Fashion became a part of many celebrities image and helped each of them to set themselves apart from everyone else. Many trends set by celebrities and fashion icons became standard way of how people dressed in the eighties. The decade of the eighties was all about finding individual identity and expressing yourself. Many ideas adapted in the eighties still lives on today. American designers such as Donna Karan emerged in the eighties. Donna Karan started out as the head designer for Anne Klein but left the company in 1984 to form her own company.
Donna Karan is known for her contribution in fashion in the eighties for the bodysuit and also her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection. The bodysuit was known as “the body”. It was made out of a jersey material and designed like a leotard. This one piece design gave women a smooth silhouette. The Seven Easy Pieces collection consisted on interchangeable coordinates that could be worn daily and also could be mixed and matched. Since during this time period women were starting to climb the corporate ladder and trying to break the glass ceiling, power dressing was in.
People were looking for functional clothing, yet elegant, and simple in either black, grey, or white. Donna Karan designed a line of women’s power clothing including work suits which became extremely successful. She became known as “The Queen of Seventh Avenue”. Karan insisted that she only designs clothing that she would wear herself. She is known for supporting the needs of modern women. In 1988 Donna Karan extended her women’s signature collection to a less expensive line for younger women called DKNY. The line was so successful that Karan became known as the first designer to establish a bridge collection.
She then launched DKNY Jeans, a men’s line, and also a children’s line, and line of beauty products. All of the branches of her collection were very successful. Famous clients include Demi Moore, Bill Clinton, and Barbra Streisand. Years later Donna Karan is still respected as one of the world’s most talented designers. Donna Karan made her mark in fashion and continues to do so today. Recently Karan has gained negative press due to her use of fur in her designs. Animal rights groups demand people boycott her line until she no longer uses fur. Work Cited Kettleson, Casey. 2010, january 6). Styled on icon: debbie harry. Retrieved from http://www. styledon. com/culture/styledon-icon/articles/styledon-icon-debbie-harry Marini, Stephanie. (n. d. ). 80's style icons. Retrieved from www. askbronny. com Donna karan fashion deisgner. (n. d. ). Retrieved from www. infomat. com Nellis, Cynthia. (n. d. ). Design byte. Retrieved from www. about. com Whitley, P. (2008). 1980-1989. American Cultural History. Lone Star College- Kingwood Library, Kingwood, TX. Retrieved from http://wwwappskc. lonestar. edu/ popculture/decade80. html
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