What was the inspiration for 80's type suits?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by othertravel, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I can claim the same. But I recall a client telling me, "My husband only wears Armani." That explained a lot ... such as the Porsche with the 'MrShark' license plate.

    Or perpetuation of an already bad reputation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012


  2. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Armani may be the one to blame, but it still doesn't answer the question of what inspired it. In short, what inspired Armani? This is not to suggest that I really need or even want to know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012


  3. FLW

    FLW Senior member

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    ^^^^^ Many would consider that the ultimate 80s moment, at least in the business world.

    Clothing trends are often as much a reaction AGAINST predecessors as they are innovations themselves. The drape cuts and droopy gorges of Armani and Hugo Boss (easily the most identifiable or most worn names of the time) reflect that. Here is what I mean:

    70s- Man-made fabrics, slim silhouettes, and a general easing of dress standards. Think of the move from Sinatra in black tie to rhinestones and Nik-Nik shirts.

    80s- The return of "power," yuppie greed. This was an age of "more is more" and suiting set out to embody the spirit of robber barons and elitist captains of industry. The DB drape suit was an effort to channel Morgan, Vanderbilt, et al.

    90s- The economy drooped and people grew weary of the "Wall Street" asshole and the "American Psycho" superficiality. 80s pretension was loathed and the casual Friday decade was born.

    00s- With men's clothing completely lost in a pile of novelty ties and pleated dockers, Jil Sander, Hedi Slimane, and Thom Browne resurrect the suit in an Americana-meets-Euro-waif kind of way. Suits are ultra slim and done in mostly sobering colors and patterns. Ties are slim and either solid or club striped. J Crew and RLBL bring the look to the real world and release it to the masses. The lines attacked the 80s while the formality assaulted the 90s.

    10s- Tom Ford is THE name in design, providing booming lapels, wide ties, and bold patterns. In short, what gets labelled as "classic elegance" begins to supplant the 00s look, which has been determined to be bland (in color) or too avant garde (in hem length and general line). By 2012 Joseph Abboud, Suit Supply, and others have sprung into action to take the look mass-market.

    Of course this is a huge generalization and does not necessarily cover all of us or our wardrobes, but you get the picture. That, or you could into J Press at any time over this span and buy the same suit as many times as you wanted.
     


  4. othertravel

    othertravel Senior member

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    Based on the info in the thread thus far, 1930s Hollywood was the inspiration, with some peculiar Armani touches.
     


  5. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I found a couple of sentences on the Internet that explain a lot:

     


  6. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    [​IMG]
     


  7. oldog/oldtrix

    oldog/oldtrix Senior member

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    A&S mid-1930s:

    [​IMG]

    Armani mid-1980s:

    [​IMG]

    Me mid-day today:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     


  8. Dewey

    Dewey Senior member

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    no wonder olddog is the highest paid lover in Beverly Hills. very impressive.

    The strong shoulder thing went through phases ... I think Gere in this movie was a big part of the start of it in the US.

    Of 200 American men buying these suits in 1982, maybe half of them saw and loved that movie. Maybe half of them associated the style with an old, pre-Vietnam Hollywood elegance. Most probably bought the suits on gut instinct, or in naive imitation of another; I would never want to suggest that I think that people put a whole lot of rational thought into how they choose the style of their suits. In terms of quantity, most suits were cheap and looked like 60s & 70s Ivy-league Brooks Brothers.

    What inspired Armani? Another way to ask this is, who inspired Armani. Probably there were a number of people borrowing from one another and competing with one another. Thierry Mugler?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012


  9. Ivon

    Ivon Senior member

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    Milena Canonero, she's does costumes for film and tv and she's probably had more impact on the way we dressed in the 80s than a busload of designers. I mentioned her in another thread about Bond suits. Just google her resume and you'll see. It seems we are on the same page on the origin of the 80s suit, I have to point out that David Byrne wore avant garde olothes from Comme des Garçon, whose aesthetic was NEVER close to the Italian designers, in fact Japanese designers of the era seemed to have drawn inspiration from 50s America, the kimono and even origami. I wore Japanese oohing in the 80s.
     


  10. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    I actually like most of the fabrics in those pics. I'd be happy to wear most of them on some occasion or other. It's not the bold patterns and bold colors that bug me about 70s fashions; it's the onslaught of artificial fabrics, like polyester and wool-poly blends.
     


  11. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    I'm not sure what you're asking for. We could trace causal chains all the way back to the Big Bang, or God's creation. OP asked, "why the 80s-early 90s fashion for drape/baggy suits?" One hypothesis that's often supplied: "Because Armani started pushing them around 1980, his styles started a buzz, and other makers followed suit."

    What inspired Armani? Well, part of it was that he liked the extreme drape suits of the late 30s and the 40s.
     


  12. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Senior member

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    I quite like the overall interpretation in your post. One puzzle: how could droop suits channel Morgan and Vanderbilt, given that if you google images of them, they did not wear drape cuts, and certainly no droop. Their cuts were much more like military tight. My own theory is that the channeling was done by re-assertion of hyper-masculinity after the flirtation with femininity and androgyny in the 70s, and also by the luxurious effects of draping. Droop suits gave you shoulders, a big chest, and showed you could afford to wear a lot of fabric. Sort of like the regal and priestly effect that wearing robes gives.
     


  13. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This is a good thread.

    I think it is helpful to try to sort out what Armani was doing and what the designers who were influenced by him did to try to make their own name. What I remember of Armani was very soft fabrics, wide,dropped shoulders, dropped gorge and low buttoning point. I think that was hugely influential not just with the GQ set, but also in the bespoke and classic tailoring world (this is just memory - I haven't actually looked). The wide, padded shoulder look seemed to be a reaction by other designers to what Armani did and an attempt to differentiate themselves. For the moment, though, I have no evidence of this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012


  14. plei89

    plei89 Senior member

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    Man... those really wide lapels kill it for me
     


  15. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    That's alright. The question has been partly answered by others.
    Tracing the causal chain back to the Big Bang is unnecessary. It's generally accepted that clothing hasn't been around that long and I seriously doubt we need go back even as far as the frock coat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012


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