Completely Bonkers

Club to Catwalk: London’s Glorious Underground

Club to Catwalk, a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, focuses on London’s wild (and completely genius) street style in the 1980s. 

Anita Corbin

Anita Corbin

Fashion and clubbing are two things that have always gone hand in hand, so it comes as no surprise that a new exhibit at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, is rich with fabulous finds. Underground club scenes around the world have always been an epicenter for fashion, but it was London that gave birth to some of the most creative, bold young designers. The V&A exhibition is divided into three categories: the Catwalk, the Club, and Magazines and Accessories. The Catwalk features everything from bedazzled T-shirts and denim jackets customized by Vivienne Westwood to John Galliano menswear ensembles. The Club section highlights the convergence of music and fashion (and the Ecstasy and day-glo that came along with it). The final section, Magazines and Accessories, follows fashion as it transitioned from the dance floor to print—displaying spreads from magazines like The Face, i-D, and Blitz—publications that were less interested in high fashion and more focused on street fashion. Our gallery highlights some of the exhibition's wildest, most interesting pieces. Club to Catwalk opens July 10

Anita Corbin

The Cloth

Designer collective the Cloth created loose, baggy T-shirts with bold prints, which were a popular trend in London in the 1980s.

Monica Curtin

Bodymap

This dress done by designer Bodymap in 1984 can be described as “Cat in the Hat takes a tumble with a techno fish.”

Giles Tapie

Joseph Tricot

Knit ensemble by Joseph Tricot, which was featured in the November 1985 issue of Elle magazine.

Michael Costiff

Leigh Bowery and Gerlinde Costiff

Leigh Bowery and Gerlinde Costiff, wife of Comme des Garçons designer Michael Costiff, at Taboo in London, 1985.

Derek Ridgers

Yasmine

Dramatic makeup and hair by Yasmine.

Eamonn Mccabe

Lloyd Johnson

Gold-leather jacket by Lloyd Johnson on the September 1986 cover of the Hell's Angels issue of The Face.

Victoria and Albert Museum,London

Joseph

Knit tiger-print sweater by Joseph in 1985.

Victoria and Albert Museum,London

Katharine Hamnett

Known for her oversize cotton and silk ensembles, Katharine Hamnett designed this bold-type silk T-shirt in 1984.

Derek Ridgers

Trojan and Mark

Clubbers Trojan and Mark at Taboo in 1986.

Derek Ridgers

Subway

A clubber at Subway in 1986.

Derek Ridgers

Batcave

Jonathan at Batcave in 1983.

Victoria and Albert Museum,London

John Galliano

A sketch by John Galliano for his customized Levi Strauss & Co. denim jacket. Blitz magazine asked 22 London-based designers in 1986 to customize Levi's denim jackets, which were then exhibited and auctioned off at the V&A Museum to benefit the Prince's Trust.

Victoria and Albert Museum,London

Leigh Bowery and Vivienne Westwood

Customized Levi Strauss & Co. denim jackets by Leigh Bowery and Vivienne Westwood for the Blitz magazine project.