Shifting from the punk movement, the 80’s youth still felt neglected by Thatcher’s political agenda and the people involved in this climate. They wanted escapism from this unwelcoming society, without the politics or aggressive tone of the punks. They wanted to fantasise and dress-up without anyone telling them they couldn’t. Thus came the New Romantic period.
Founded within London’s nightclubs such as ‘The Blitz’ and ‘Billy’s’ where popular New Romantic artists like David Bowie and Duran Duran were played, youngsters pushed for a night of fun and extravagance that let them enjoy some time away from their day to day lives. Where instead of being a nobody in a general public, they could be anyone they wanted to be within a club of 70.
Whether it be a nun with 2 foot crimped hair or a pirate with a taste for pink eyeshadow, there were no limitations on what was suitable. There was no gender, background or expectations, it was all just expression and enlightenment. This freedom was what they lacked in the punk period. They no longer wanted to wear a t-shirt of the Queen with crude graffiti on it, they wanted to forget the t-shirt all together and dress in something completely unrelated to any person of political hierarchy.
The styles of the individuals attending these nightclubs were often inspired by the glam rock era and the early romantic period of the late 18th century/early 19th century. People were often characterised by flamboyant and eccentric fashion boutiques such as PX in London and Kahn & Bell in Birmingham, which helped them to explore this new style that had never been played around with before for everyday use.
It’s quite ridiculous to believe that this shift in styles even developed from the punk movement, yet to think that it even existed at all is quite remarkable for the 1980’s. To this day designers still look to this era of fashion for some current day escapism from the same old designs and themes that the industry whacks out each season.
If there’s anything you should take from this post, I’d say to think about the possibility of a reincarnation of the New Romantics era that we could be experiencing right now. No we might not be going out dressed as Jesus or using white face paint as foundation, but the sudden surge of maximalist styles and themes is undeniable.
Festival wear has turned from comfort clothes to every girl needing to find a new outfit that nobody else in a field of 20,000 will have. Drag shows are more popular than ever now. The Met Gala is more anticipated than any fashion week all year round because of how imaginative, unwearable yet artistic it is.
So, do I think we’re going into a maximalist period? Definitely. Will the New Romantic era play a more dominant role in future influences in style, make-up and art? Quite possibly. Are we in need of some imagination and fun in this dull fashion industry? 100%.
Thanks for reading this quick discussion on new romantic style, I was wanting to write something as a form of stress relief so I thought I’d combine it with a topic that I was looking at for my uni work. I’ll be sure to see you again soon with another fun topic, but be sure to let me know if you’d like more history based themes like this!