Eighties’ street smarts and underground sub-cultures collide for an inspired take on dressing with an edge.

Prolific pop artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring had a graphic approach to their work that felt modern and entrenched in the urban landscape and sub-cultures of New York in the 1980s. Those ideas filtered through several collections for winter 2015 from the Brigitte Nielsen clones at Loewe to the highbrow art snobs at Proenza Schouler.

Evolving from The New York School art movement of the 50s and 60s, particularly the abstract expressionism that came from that scene (de Koonig, Pollock), those linear and energetic works echo a sense of movement and freedom that were ahead of their time.

What linked these movements together is the obsession with the future. While every decade has its fascination with what's to come from astronomical illustrations of the 1800s to the The Jetsons of the 60s, the future will always be a curious novelty.

In a season that looked heavily to the 70s and 60s once again, a handful of designers sidestepped the nostalgia trip by looking at the past with a romantic and futuristic lens, particularly the 80s and its heavy pop culture environment. Even Malcolm McLaren's music and art has stood the test of time, and his relationship with designer Dame Vivienne Westwood played with those ideas of street culture, aristocracy and the future through their post-punk collections.


That point of view offers up plenty of opportunity to play with this seasons' oversized knit dresses from Salasai's Basquiat-inspired prints (#1) as well as sharp 80s animal prints (think Pizzazz from The Misfits) that have made their way on to several head-turning pieces. Teamed with opaque hosiery, pointed-toe shoes and an oversized statement earring, it's a nod to an era so often maligned.

This is 80s revisited - without the cringe factor.

1 Salasai oversized sweater dress, $409. Witchery beaded necklace, $64.90. Ambra sheer tights $13 (worn throughout), from Smith & Caughey's. Witchery ankle boots, $169.90
2 Seed Heritage dress, $89.90. Camilla & Marc double-breasted blazer, $790. Moochi fringed bag, $300. Kathryn Wilson suede ankle boots, $169.90.
3 Carlson coat, $699 and dress, $429. Gregory faux fur muff, $249. Seed Heritage lace-up heels, $219.90.
4 Salasai oversized sweater dress, $339 and matching shawl, $140. Kathryn Wilson suede ankle boots, $389. Witchery hoop earring (sold as pair) $45.
5 French Connection top, $159.90. Juliette Hogan $389. Witchery earrings, $45. Karen Walker clutch, $240. Mimco flats, $229.


Camilla & Marc
• Carlson (09) 361 2137
French Connection
Juliette Hogan
Karen Walker
Kathryn Wilson
Smith & Caugheys
• Witchery (09) 523 1335

- Canvas