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The ’80s have returned, in fashion that is

October 12, 2009
by Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer

A sea of glamorous women sporting jackets with shoulder pads, pleated trousers and ultra-mini dresses strut down a narrow walkway intently.

No, this isn’t a clip from the ’80s television hit “Dynasty” but the scene at the fall 2009 Marc Jacobs fashion show highlighting some of the latest trends to make a comeback from the age of excess into the fashion mainstream.

While these and other ’80s inspired pieces ruled the runway at the Marc Jacobs, Balmain, Antonio Berardi and other famous designers’ fall 2009 fashions shows, some of these trends have already filtered down to City College.

Leggings, asymmetry and other 80s looks have shown up on campus for the last several seasons, but the likelihood of the shoulder pad trend making its way into the wardrobe of local trendsetters is pretty slim says Lynne Giovannetti, professor in the fashion and design program at City College.

“The students are wearing vintage clothes,” Giovannetti says. “They’re going to the second-hand stores and they’re picking up the original (but) I’m not seeing so much in (the way of) shoulder pads.”

“But you have to remember that the stuff that goes on a runway will probably never be seen on the streets of Sacramento,” Giovannetti says. “It’s like the epitome of what their collection is, but it’s not what the everyday person is going to wear to Safeway to go shopping. It’s also not what you’re really going to see on our campus.”

At the Marc Jacobs show, the shoulder pad played a key role with models strolling down the runway in fiercely structured jackets, cardigans and dresses evocative of Alexis Carrington – shoulder-pad-wearing ex-wife of “Dynasty’s” wealthy patriarch.

“Shoulder pads are like partly a mystery to me,” says fashion major Amanda Carroll. “But I’m sure they serve a definite purpose somewhere.”

“The shoulder pads aren’t really my thing,” says City College student Fawna Wallace, 19. “It reminds me kind of the football player type thing.”

While shoulder pads may not be for Wallace, another trend from the era of fingerless lace gloves did make it into her wardrobe.
“I just feel that I like being different,” Wallace says. “Not too many people wear leg warmers. I got orange, purple, green – two different shades of green – [and] these pinks ones.”

London-based designer, Antonio Berardi also channeled the Carringtons in his fall collection with a parade of cropped blazers and jackets – all adorned with a structured, exaggerated shoulder.

“Shoulder pads really help establish an hourglass figure on a person,” says Giovannetti. “As long as you don’t look like Joe Montana, you really do want to have shoulder pads.”

According to Vogue magazine’s senior accessories editor, Filipa Fino, the trend is catching on. She recently blogged about her observations at Paris Fashion Week indicating, “Every chic fashionista is sporting some kind of padded-shoulder jacket.”

“What goes around comes around,” says Giovannetti, who also teaches a course on the history of Western fashion. “There is usually about a 30-year split, so we’re just on the cusp of really entering the 80s.”

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