I will never really understand why style forecasters claim at the beginning of each and every season that the 80s are "back"... I mean, did they ever go away? Anyone who hasn't been under a rock for the latter part of this decade must have noticed how fashion as well as music has been heavily influenced by 80s design and bands, respectively, for a good couple of years. Summer 2005? The Bravery, lacy layered "Who's That Girl?" mini skirts, crazy makeup, Motherf***er parties in downtown NYC. Somehow it feels like fashion never fully recovered from that intense experience: even though the 80s have not really been in style to any significant extent since then, they did by no means disappear completely. Case in point: following the mid-decade 80s craze, you never knew when some random balloon skirt, neon fishnet glove or harem pant would sneak its way onto the racks of your favorite boutique or the pages of an "edgy" fashion editorial!
However, one 80s look that never stroke again with full force was the power bitch trend. Thank goodness! It's bad enough having to be bitched around the office by some power-tripping, menopausal, micro-managing lady suffering from BlackBerry addiction as well as part OCD, part ADD... now imagine the same lady, decked out in poufy hair, a double breasted Thierry Mugler suit with shoulder pads the size of the Sydney Opera House.... and white commuter sneakers. Welcome to fall 2009!
It started quite innocently with the menswear trend - then all of a sudden, we were flooded with shows and editorials where models were styled as slick businesswomen in oversized double-breasted CEO blazers, marked shoulders à la Alexis Carrington, and with that dollar hungry gaze in their eyes... Below: Katie Fogarty and Kendra Spears channeling Wall Street with a touch of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" in Bazaar.
Meanwhile, uptown as well as downtown boutiques are currently showcasing designs that would fit right into the wardrobe of any leading lady on Dynasty, Working Girl... and even Dallas. Below: day and evening power bitch looks at Dolce & Gabbana, double breasted coat and big hair at Prada (note that the mannequin sports the same frizzy hair as the models of the brand's fall campaign!), bedazzled evening gown at Angela's Vintage (11th & 2nd).
I do realize how this style can be glamorous as well as elegant, if worn by the right person on the right occasion. But even so, it does absolutely nothing for me! In addition to being overwhelming and a little too much in general, these designs are typically very mature looking and will add 5-10 years to almost anyone's age. The aging effect is reinforced further by the heavy makeup that is pretty much a necessity for pulling off the style in a believable way. I have no interest at all in trying this look, and I do not particularly enjoy seeing it worn by other women either.
Befittingly enough, as this has been on my mind a lot lately, I spent my Wednesday doing some work on the sequel to Oliver Stone's 1987 movie "Wall Street". Curious to see whether Gordon Gekko would be sporting the same sleazy hairdo and custom made shirts (by New Jersey shirtmaker Mel Gambert) as he did back in '87, I was a little disappointed to find out that Michael Douglas was not working the same scenes as me today. Instead, I got to share the screen with '09 power bitch Carey Mulligan, looking like she was ready to slap us all in our faces with her briefcase - too bad I signed paperwork preventing me from discussing her wardrobe (among many other things) on a public forum such as Blogger...
One thing I will say, though, is that Ms Mulligan looked extremely impeccable and well put together - unlike this lady, whom I caught sight of during my walk home (pictured on the right)! During the six years I've lived here, I have never really spotted sneakers on working women - but this season they suddenly seem to be the commuter shoe à la mode. If I was not convinced before that the power bitch is on her way back, I certainly am now! However, that would not necessarily be the upscale, well-dressed leading lady at D&G and Prada... but rather her sloppy, mismatched little sister!
To wrap up, I have two great pieces of advice for all of you who are guilty of doing this: please stop channeling Melanie Griffith '88 and instead see below, ASAP! Yes, you heard me. You're welcome.
Man in a Can, 57th & Madison. - Because we all need a break now and then.
5 years ago