Club To Catwalk: London Fashion In The 1980s at the V&A

One of my resolutions this year was to go to more exhibitions, and I kicked my year off with a trip to the V&A. Their Club To Catwalk exhibition focusses on the rise of various young British designers who hit the fashion scene in the 1980s and how the clothes they saw in the city's nightclubs influenced the designs they put on the runway throughout the decade, and as I've been keen to do more fashion blogging I thought this would be a great place to start.

Unfortunately as you're not allowed to take photos in the exhibition I don't have any shots to show you, so you'll have to use your imagination a little. However, the V&A has some images from the exhibition on their website, so you can at least get an idea of what's on offer before you hand over the admission price.

The exhibition is split over two levels in the centre of the V&A's fashion section, with the top level devoted to 'club' and the lower level representing 'catwalk'. In the 'club' section, the focus is very much on the fashion tribes of the 80s, from Goth to New Romantic. Particular favourites included amazing Vivienne Westwood pirate outfits worn by Adam Ant, a gorgeous gold corset dress with matching mask and sleeve, and a whole display on Punk fashion that spoke to my love of battered jeans and leather jackets. Some of the dresses - and, let's be honest, the headgear and shoes too - were real feats of engineering, but balanced with a great sense of fun and a rainbow of brilliant colours. There's also a fascinating video display from the nightclub Blitz, which really draws you in to the 80s club scene and gives you a real feel for the lifestyle. I'd definitely go in there for a few minutes first, especially if like me you weren't old enough to experience it first time around.

On the ground floor, it's all about how designers took those influences and transferred them into wearable clothes. Ranging from Katherine Hamnett's legendary slogan T-shirts that were a huge hit with 80s pop stars (we've all seen the footage of George Michael on Top of the Pops wearing her 'Choose Life' T-shirt) to 40s-influenced dresses topped off with retro flying caps, it was a great display of how fashion . A big highlight for me was a display of denim jackets customised by a range of the decade's hot young designers, such as John Galliano and BodyMap, which were then auctioned off to raise money for charity (the 80s was also the decade when the concept of charity fashion shows took off hugely). I felt that it really showed off how much scope designers had to be creative with their clothing and the sheer amount of imagination that went into their work.

The most surprising thing was the sheer amount of clothing where I thought, 'I would wear that now!', from cat-ear sports coats and crazy accessories (fork as a brooch, anyone?) to shrunken waistcoats and gorgeous evening dresses. It was really interesting to see how clothes from 30 years ago are still making an impact on the British high street today. I also loved the amount of stuff that was completely out there, such as a dress which I can only describe as a cross between a sexy nurse's outfit and a giant ladybird; it was so over-the-top but equally it embraced that ethos of 'wear what you want and who cares what they think?' that ran through the whole exhibition and is still a big part of what British designers are doing today.

If you fancy checking out Club To Catwalk it's on until 16th February and costs £5 - which is frankly bargainous compared to many other temporary exhibitions in London museums. Definitely recommended if you're into fashion history.

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