The Victoria & Albert Museum in their “Introduction to 20th-Century Fashion” writes of this period:

“After the hard imagery of late 1970s punk, Vivienne Westwood created her nostalgic, neo-romantic Pirate Collection. The pirate outfit, consisting of tunic top and sash, waistcoat, jacket and trousers with bicorne (two-cornered) hat and heavy boots from 1980 draws on a variety of historical and cultural sources. For example, the long slits in the arms of the jacket refer to the 16th- and 17th-century fashion for slashed fabric.”


Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

Fig. 1 - Arthur Elgort (American, 1940-present). Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger, 1983. Source: Pinterest


[To come…]



Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1980-1989
  • 1981 – Lady Diana Spencer marries Prince Charles. She wears an ivory silk wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. It sets the fashion for wedding dresses for the next 10 years.
  • 1981 – Music Television is born and brings pop-star styles to a global audience.
  • 1981 – The first episode of the US TV series Dynasty airs and helps to popularize power dressing and shoulder pads.
  • 1983 – John-Paul Gautier launches his Dadaist collection, which includes his signature corset.
  • 1984 – Donna Karan International is established. Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store is built in New York City.
  • 1985 – With her jangling jewelry, lace, black mesh vest, and hair bows, Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan becomes a style icon for many women throughout the world. Dolce and Gabbana’s first women’s collection is presented in Milan.
  • 1988 – Anna Wintour becomes editor-in-chief at American Vogue.
  • 1989 – Prada launches its women’s ready-to-wear collection, bringing its designs to a wider audience.

Primary/Period Sources

Resources for Fashion History Research

To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
Have a primary source to suggest?  Or a newly digitized periodical/book to announce?  Contact us!

Periodicals (Digitized)
The Harper’s Bazaar Archive (Subscription Required), n.d. https://www.proquest.com/products-services/Harpers-Bazaar-Archive.html.
Vogue Archive (Subscription Required), n.d. https://login.voguearchive.com.
Almodóvar, Pedro. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095675/.
Kasdan, Lawrence. Body Heat, 1981. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082089/.
Lyne, Adrian. Fatal Attraction, 1987. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093010/.
Lyne, Adrian. Flashdance, 1983. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085549/.
Nichols, Mike. Working Girl, 1988. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096463/.
Pollack, Sydney. Tootsie, 1982. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084805/.
Schrader, Paul. American Gigolo, 1980. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080365/.
Seidelman, Susan. Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089017/.
Soderbergh, Steven. Sex, Lies, and Videotape, 1989. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098724/.
Stone, Oliver. Wall Street, 1987. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094291/.

Secondary Sources

Also see the 20th-century overview page for more research sources... or browse our Zotero library.

“Introduction to 20th-Century Fashion,” October 18, 2012. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/i/introduction-to-20th-century-fashion/.
Carnegy, Vicky. Fashions of a Decade. The 1980s. New York: Facts on File, 1990. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/908739236.
Cole, Daniel James, and Nancy Deihl. The History of Modern Fashion from 1850. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/900012311.
De La Haye, Amy, ed. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion, 1947-1997. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1997. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/647538874.
De La Haye, Amy, and Cathie Dingwall. Surfers, Soulies, Skinheads, & Skaters: Subcultural Style from the Forties to the Nineties. Woodstock: Overlook Press, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1008474764.
De Pietri, Stephen, and Melissa Leventon. New Look to Now: French Haute Couture, 1947-1987. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1989. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/476859834.
Hannon, Sharon M. Punks : A Guide to an American Subculture. Guides to Subcultures and Countercultures. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2010. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/867150591.
Howell, Georgina. Sultans of Style: Thirty Years of Fashion and Passion, 1960-90. London: Ebury, 1990. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/900307080.
Jobling, Paul. Fashion Spreads: Word and Image in Fashion Photography since 1980. Dress, Body, Culture. Oxford: Berg, 1999. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/255091165.
Martin, Richard, and Harold Koda. The Historical Mode: Fashion and Art in the 1980s. New York: Rizzoli, 1989. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/22344934.
Mendes, Valerie D., and Amy De La Haye. Fashion since 1900. 2nd ed. World of Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/751457342.
Milbank, Caroline Rennolds, and Harold Koda. Fashion: A Timeline in Photographs: 1850 to Today. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/905518225.
Muller, Florence, and Jane Burke, eds. Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s-90s. Denver: Denver Art Museum, 2016. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967594464.
Seeling, Charlotte, Neil Morris, Ting Morris, and Karen Waloschek. Fashion, the Century of the Designer, 1900-1999. Cologne: Könemann, 2000. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/778990757.
Victoria, and Albert Museum. 80s Fashion: From Club to Catwalk. Edited by Sonnet Stanfill. London: V&A Pub, 2013. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/843874219.
“1980s Fashion.” Pinterest, n.d. https://www.pinterest.com/kulizanka/1980s-fashion/.