Cartier Panthere
Cartier Panthere
Image: Supplied

In a natural progression from fashion’s long fascination with the 1970s, a somewhat punch-drunk world is now trying to make sense of the unfathomable present through a reinterpretation of the 1980s. For whatever reason, designers and influencers of fashion are channelling the decade, and the trend is sure to endure for a while.

Accessories are absolutely a part of this trend, and luxury maison Cartier is spot on with the re-introduction of iconic ’80s timepiece the Cartier Panthère, which has been re-released in 2017.

Although Sofia Coppola has taken some creative licence in her modern interpretation of the ’80s woman in the promotional short film, her choice of ’70s references — the catchy synth disco track I Feel Love by Donna Summer (1978) and the Mercedes-Benz SL (1972) — could be seen as symbols of the true emancipation and economic liberation of women, which happened as a precursor to the Maggie Thatcher decade of women on top.

There are fashion updates almost every season now, but back then things seemed to be scored in decades. The world relied on print magazines and the newly launched CNN and MTV for global news and the latest trends. It’s hard to believe that the first commercial cellphone call was made as recently as 1983, which, perhaps even more relevant to this revival, is the same year that Prozac hit the market.

Cult films such as Top Gun, Beetlejuice, and Blade Runner that reflected the new MTV generation have been rebooted and are scheduled for release on the big screen this year. Will Back to the Future be the next dose of nostalgia?

Beyond flammable clothing, shoulder pads, big hair, and yuppie attitudes, the most significant effect of the ’80s was the big shift in connectivity. IBM released the first PC, and Steve Jobs his Macintosh computer; the decade ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the internet taking us global. But now it’s time to rethink how we use our internet-connected devices. Hopefully we will see more movements such as trying to help us reclaim our minds from the race for attention.

According to retail analytics group Edited, in today’s confusing world, where, despite constant connectivity, isolation and disengagement is rife, consumers trying to define their place within that digital kaleidoscope are wearing their associations, awareness, and beliefs right on the chest.

This same desire, they say, is partially responsible for the rise of niche streetwear brands: “In 2017, this will go beyond music and extend into any form of clothing that identifies its wearer’s belonging to any kind of club, ideology, or lifestyle.”

High-waisted jeans and eighties-style slogan tees are the obvious items, but we can also expect to see more subcultural references on the catwalks.

Luxe active apparel is all the rage now, but we can trace its roots back to the ’80s too. Fashion’s embrace of fitness-, dance-, and skatewear also brought with it the rise of sneaker culture.

The ’80s fashion references are diverse, and many are not meant to be taken terribly seriously. Material Girl Madonna was a fixture on MTV and her songs, videos, and style pushed the boundaries of popular culture.

There’s also pre-glamazon Lady Diana puffball sleeves and over-sized cricket sweaters, the Dallas and Dynasty TV series and Jane Fonda’s Workout video — let’s pray that questionable fitness gear does not return to haunt us men. Marc Jacobs may have crafted a clever contemporary take on this high-gloss period in his recent resort collection, but some things really need to be left behind.

As the Edited report states: “Along with flounces and Bardot styles, 2016 got consumers warmed up to what’s going to be an even bigger year for sleeve shapes. This comes as part of a wider trend towards frivolity.”

The pervasive ’80s theme will dominate 2017. Watch out for even more minaudière, velvet shoes, extravagant metallic fabrics, and embroidered denim.

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