80s icon Madonna, Getty Images.
Icons of the EIGHTIES
They may have ruled the world thirty years ago, but their style is relevant to this day. Here are the women who really defined the decade of the shoulder pad.
The catwalk says the 80s are back. Jonathan Anderson got the fashion
crowd excited with Eighties-influenced collections for both his label
and Loewe, reintroducing clashing colours such as beige, green and
neon. Hedi Slimane and Olivier Rousteing sent out prom-worthy lamé
dresses at Saint Laurent and Balmain respectively. Consider the decade
scary and over-the-top? Find solace in these fashion and beauty icons
who represent what was best about the era – without a legwarmer in
Was anyone cooler than Lisa Bonet and her ahead-of-the-curve boho style? She rocked flowy layers, nose rings and dreadlocks 30 years ago. Her version of hippie chic was mixed with 1980s touchstones such as oversize florals, scarves as headbands, and denim on denim (the so-called Canadian tuxedo). Lisa’s style reflected a freewheeling and highly personal spirit that paid no heed to trends. It’s something many a modern-day fashionista tries to emulate.
Big, bushy eyebrows are back, with supermodel Cara Delevingne getting plenty of credit for their return. But pretty baby Brooke Shields was the originator of the bold brow. In 1981, Time Magazine dubbed 15-year-old Brooke as having “The ’80s Look” – thick eyebrows, electric eyeshadow and glossy red lips. That flash returned to the autumn/winter 2015 runways, ending the no-makeup trend of the past few seasons, and bringing back Brooke’s brand of unabashed, healthy beauty.
Nobody defined the 1980s quite like the Queen of Pop. She exploded onto MTV and into our collective consciousness in lace, underwear-as-outerwear, slogan tees, crop tops and stacks of rubber bracelets (arm party, anyone?). Sexy, athletic, subversive and a little sacrilegious, Madonna launched dozens of trends with surprising staying power.
Her iconic turn as Elvira Hancock in Scarface unforgettably defined late disco era fashion. All Halstonesque silhouettes mixed with 1980s glam, Michelle-as-Elvira was louche and stunning. From the thin-strapped, sequinned halter dress to the chicest white wrap suit, the slinky, sexy looks are still references for today’s stars. Rihanna (who was reportedly gunning for the Elvira role in a remake of the movie) attended the 2012 Grammys in a low-cut, backless Armani gown she helped design, saying it was “Scarface-inspired”.
The ultimate club queen, Grace Jones epitomised the avant-garde 1980s: hard-edged, androgynous and futuristic. Her leather and lamé bodysuits, sharp-shouldered blazers and flat-top haircut went perfectly with her performance-art-inspired pop music. Grace was fashion with adrenaline and, if this season’s 1980s redux has anyone to thank, it’s her – all hail the diva.
Combine granny chic and normcore with thrift-store savvy and you’ve got Molly Ringwald in her John Hughes-directed movie heyday (Pretty in Pink,The Breakfast Club). Molly appealed to all the secretly fabulous misfits who knew that once they got out of their small town, the world was theirs. With her oversized boyfriend blazers, bowler hats, floral scarves, fake pearls and specs, Molly had ironic fashion down to a stylish science. Quirky had never looked so cool.