Fashion influences at the start of the decade were diverse; “New Romantic” bands were prominent but combined with the on going punk trends designers were breaking the rules. Fabrics such as rubber and vinyl, more fetish than fashion prevailed. Designers worked with pop bands and the growth of the music video encouraged crossovers between fashion and music.
E.g. Jean-Paul Gaultier refashioned corsets to be worn as outerwear for pop star Madonna.
The aggressive politics of Margaret Thatcher helped establish the power suit in which all but the tallest women looked like boxes. The term Yuppie described upwardly mobile young businessmen and women armed with briefcase and filofax.
Lady Diana Spencer’s engagement to the Prince of Wales established her as a fashion leader. She favoured floaty, flowery dresses in demure prints, block colour suits and pill box hats. She chose David and Elizabeth Emanuel to design her wedding dress in 1982.
A new breed of young designers emerged from art colleges such as St Martins School of Art in London. They adopted a vibrant questioning approach which mirrored the 1960s puff ball crinoline and rara skirts flourished briefly on the High Street.
Flamboyant costumes on Dynasty and Dallas sparked a demand for glitzy cocktail wear. These included silk suits, jewelled dresses with pinched in waists, flared peplums and ridiculously over padded shoulders.