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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

Explore 80s fashion at the V&A this week

8th July 2013

Budding fashionistas, London club scene enthusiasts and fans of contemporary British design should all find their fancies tickled by the Victoria and Albert Museum's massive new exhibition - Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, which opens this week.

Exhibition-goers are promised they'll uncover the "creative explosion of London fashion" that characterised the decade, exploring the work of designers who studied at places like St Martin's by day and haunted the city's vibrant, glamorous clubs by night.

Garments created by the likes of John Galliano, Betty Jackson, Wendy Dagworthy and Katharine Hamnett are on display - as are costumes worn by Adam Ant, Leigh Bowery and other fearless exponents of the new romantic and high camp movements.

In many ways, the show should prove the perfect companion piece to the V&A's current exhibition on the flamboyant fashions of David Bowie. The musical icon gained a new lease of life in the early 80s, fraternising with the patrons of exclusive clubs like Billy's and Blitz as he developed new outfits and stage personae for hits like Ashes to Ashes and China Girl.

All kinds of creativity were intimately entangled in the decade's club culture  - a unique "symbiotic relationship" that characterised the period's fashion, claim curators.

"Each group of people, whether they were fashion designers, musicians or dancers, filmmakers, living together and going out together, had a passion for creating something new that was almost infectious," agrees Stevie Stewart - a designer for the prestigious BodyMap brand.

Recalling his experiences at St Martin's, meanwhile, John Galliano adds: "Thursday and Friday at St Martin's, the college was almost deserted. Everybody was at home working on their costumes for the weekend."

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s kicks off on Wednesday (July 10th). It runs until February 16th 2014, so would-be attendees have plenty of time to book hotel accommodation in London and plan their visits.

Admission costs £5 per person, or £6 if visitors choose to leave a donation for the museum. Family tickets are also available for £10 or £15 depending on the size of the party.


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