When Anna Wintour said that 'fashion is not about looking back' in her documentary September Issue, I actually balked out loud in the theater. (An involuntary reaction, similar to being tapped below the kneecap by the doctor.) If that were true, then the new phenomena that offends all my senses would not be actually happening, and it would all be a bad dream. But alas, the 80s are back.
I was born in the early part of the decade notorious for neon, plastic accessories, padding and volume. Though too young to exercise volition over my clothing choices, the trends affected what my mother dressed me in. Many photos capture me donning loose sweat shirts with coordinating leggings, slouchy socks worn over the ankle of the leggings, topped off with an array of colorful Keds. (Agreeably, the Keds are still cute, but as for the rest, my gag reflex begins to tickle in the back of my throat.) By time I reached the double digits (the ripe old age of 10) and an upper crust private school on Long Island, I was making my own fashion choices. But those 80's were not easy to kick. The stores clung to some voluminous, overly bright pieces like a child to a diaper. By the early 90's most remnants of atrocity had vanished, only to be replaced with flannel and Doc Martens, a la Nirvana. (Think of Beverly Hills 90210, Brenda's belly bearing cut off t's paired with plaid button downs, reverse fit jeans, and black boots, or Kelly's pointy-shouldered, men's fit blazers in shades like fire engine red. I still shudder, though I love the re-runs.)Now that I've happily settled into straight jeans, cashmere cardigans, deep mens v-neck t's with feminine blazers and round-toe pumps, I see a disturbing omen. The Wall Street Journal seems to agree with me. Runways show peaks of shoulder pads, flashes of neon, teased manes and oversized tops paired with form fitting spandex bottoms. (Admittedly, those pesky leggings have been creeping onto the scene for several seasons now, but I refuse to believe they are here. What some call denial I suppose.) If Ms. Wintour was correct about fashion's forward facing gaze, I doubt many present styles could be explained, and least of all, this 80's rebirth that's leering around the fashion week corner. I do not mean to be disloyal to the decade of my birth, but some things are truly better left in history.