The 1980’s brings to mind spandex, bright colors, shoulder pads, mom jeans, acid wash, scrunchies, crimped hair, awkward workout gear, sweatbands, swishy sounding tracksuits, and everything else massacring fashion. Basically, Paris cried for the death of la mode. This may have been God’s true wrath reigned down upon mankind. Forget that flood-ark thing, the 80’s was the real suffering people had to live through. If you doubt me, just look at my mother’s “
beautiful” wedding dress.
I was at The Galleria here, in Houston, a few days ago with my best friend, when we were descending on the escalator to see the most horrific outfit. We knew this costume – for lack of better words, no person in their right mind would call it clothes – was designer because it was displayed prominently in the Neiman Marcus window, the store every wallet on earth goes to to die a death of starvation; $20 marshmallows enough said. Anyways, this ensemble was baggy pants and a baggy shirt with a dark background and obscenely large, muted flowers covering the entire thing. Pants and shirt same terrifying fabric. It was hideous. I don’t have words to describe the scarring my retinas are recovering from.
In this moment, I realized designers must design one hideous thing a season just for shits and giggles. A challenge to see how ugly and expensive something can be and have people buy it, and worse yet wear it. Because they know their name alone has buying power. People with deep pockets will buy atrocities just because the label says Prada, Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Chanel, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Moschino, so on and so forth. (The exception here is Burberry; nothing they do is ugly.) Here I am, poor and not being able to buy a single ugly designer thing. So what do I know?
Here’s my theory: Designers got a little heavy handed in the ‘80’s with their ugly quota. Ta-Da! A decade full of fashion faux-pas, all because the designers said ‘fuck it, let’s get uglier and see what happens.’ I understand the ugly challenge. One piece per season just to be hideous. That’s fine with me. Keeps things interesting. Allows me to make fun of rich people, who have bad taste permitting me a tiny grain of superiority in my impoverished state. However, there is a limit. There should be an international haute couture treatise declaring it an offense to make the world visually repugnant aka let’s not repeat the 80’s treatise because eventually high fashion trickles down to the affordable stores and therefore the poor masses, which affects me.