Cinema Fashion. Guest Blog by Chloe.
Let’s paint a picture. It’s a Saturday night in 1982. You’re sat in your local cinema ready to enjoy the latest instalment from blockbusting soothsayer Ridley Scott. You’re fishing a Curly Wurly from the pocket of your new Day-Glo jacket. The growing entropy of your girlfriends perm has invaded your peripheral vision and the surrounding amalgamation of hairspray and Hai Karate is steadily stifling but your excitement is too great to be dampened.
The lights go down and you’ve never been more ready to spend a night in the future. Your head spins from the possibilities; intelligent robots, airborne cars, chic clothing – that’s if they even wear clothes in the future!
Within seconds you’re flung a dizzying 37 years forward, landing in dystopian Los Angeles. It’s only been five minutes but already you’ve crossed off the first two things on your ‘21st Century Checklist’; now you’re on the hunt for some mind-bending, ultramodern fashion to finish it off and you’re confident that Blade Runner is going to serve it.
You’re introduced to a shadowy silhouette who goes by the name of Rachael. If experience has taught you anything, it’s that women in post-millennium sci-fi flicks always have the best wardrobes.
‘Here it comes!’ You think.
She steps further in to the light. Your mind pounds with potential. Your eyes gaze upon her attire and you find that it’s…. disappointingly familiar.
Her black jacket, with its cinched waist and impressive shoulder pads, is, in retrospect, an iconic 80’s trend; so does this capsule fashion, in a film of foretelling, detract from the suspension of disbelief we should give it as an observer?
Absolutely not. Why?
Because, unlike the assumption that we’d be flying around in taxis and cohabiting with androids, the fashion of Blade Runner was one of the things that was accurately predicted.
For an example let’s return to Rachael’s introductory outfit, a black shoulder padded jacket and skirt combination. In the early 1980’s this look would have been worn by every other woman in the room; it would seem natural to scoff at the idea that in thirty years time women would still be sporting this look when, in fact, it’s still as much a statement piece in today’s fashion. You only need to see the Autumn/Winter runway looks created by Givenchy in 2019 where Power Suits and intricate tailoring took centre stage on the catwalk; Alexander McQueen, you can read more about him in Andy’s blog, also championed the power suit and added delightfully retro edges with blocks of red and black in their tailoring.
Animal print coats and fabrics, very similar to the one Pris wears when we are first introduced, were commonplace in the 2019 catwalk designs of Celine and Paco Rabanne.
Between the infinite skyscrapers and bustling crowds of the city there were always beings – human or otherwise- sporting bright ensembles that would give the dazzling neon signs competition, but still that particular trend managed to spread its luminosity through the ages and on to the 2019 runways of Balenciaga and Versace.
Even after the year of Blade Runner’s setting does the mighty shoulder pad continue to reign supreme and can be seen pride of place in Louis Vuitton’s 2020 body of work.
As an audience member watching this movie post-2019, you can’t help but wonder if the truth of it would have made for serious cinema. Yes, the power suits and tailoring influences are still prevalent in today’s fashions, but they are most notable in designer pieces. Rarely do you pass a high street store and see these items in windows. So what if the characters wore items that are as commonplace today as ostentatious blazers were in the early 80’s?
Would we have been able to regard Deckard as a no-nonsense bounty hunter if we saw him relaxing at home in his Batman lounge pants and worn out band t-shirt, hurriedly slipping on a pair of crocs to chase down a Replicant? Would we have been so enamoured by Rachael if she wore pastel sweatshirts that were five sizes too big, paired only with a leather belt and thigh high suede boots?
Perhaps not. I have a feeling that 80’s audiences would have addressed it with disbelief; the same disbelief we address it with today as we watch the movie and gaze upon the vast technological advances Sir Scott prophesised we would have accomplished by now.
If I had the choice between zipping to work in a flying car or a jacket that inflates my shoulder width to doorframe scraping lengths, I know which one I’d choose to keep in the twenty first century.
And I know the precise trousers I would wear it with.
Have a great time reminiscing
You can see more 80s fashion here
Yo can read more blogs about stuff here
You can listen to The Vintage Clothes Podcast here
You can watch out YouTube channel here