Tag Archives: 1983

Ralph Lauren, 1983

Kristin Clotilde Holby for Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 1983.

Ralph Lauren apparently thought he was opening up new vistas when he chose the Seventh Regiment Armory as the site of his fall fashion show, and certainly its vast space could accommodate the crowds. But you couldn’t reach out and touch the clothes or even tell for sure what they were made of. It wasn’t a cozy atmosphere and probably neither Christian Dior’s New Look collection nor Yves Saint Laurent’s rich peasant clothes could have survived this arena.

But Mr. Lauren certainly tried. He sent out on the runway what some spectators felt were three different collections, not counting the men’s clothes, which were interspersed with the women’s fashions.

The first scene was a family affair and the liveliest. It consisted of ski clothes for a family in which everybody goes to the slopes. The most interesting designs were the hand-knit sweaters with colorful cartoons of skiers decorating the fronts.

After that initial exuberance, the mannequins affected a slouchy, casual stance well suited to the understated clothes that seemed directed at the horsy set. Except for a few long pleated skirts that looked attractive with navy Shaker-knit pullovers and tweed jackets, pants were worn with everything, including good-looking casual double-breasted coats.

The tailored coat-dresses that Mr. Lauren pioneered are back in single-and double-breasted versions in gray flannel and brown tweed. The tailored clothes were followed by playful brightly colored ponchos over hooded tops and jersey pants and by equally bright suede tunics. Then came the evening clothes.


Issey Miyake, 1983

An earlier iteration of Miyake’s unique futurism.

Perry Ellis, 1983


Stiff, wide faille belts were Ellis’s recurring motif for spring, often with big, decorated metal buckles. They circled the waistlines of full skirts that were generally long enough to graze the ankles and of rounded pants that were the basics of the women’s collection. With front and back pleats and a full curve over the hips, the pants looked like a cleaned-up and wearable version of various kinds of baggy styles that have been popular with fashion-oriented women for several years. Now anyone can wear them without looking too tricky.

The skirts as well as the trousers have high-rise waistlines that fit snugly. Along with the belts, they focus irrevocably on the middle, so that anyone who is not naturally endowed with a 19-inch waistline can contemplate exercise, diet or suicide. The fullness of the skirts and pants are, however, kind to hiplines.

Mr. Ellis has his mannequins race down the runway in espadrilles that wrap around the ankle. Hardly does the lacing stop but the skirt begins, providing a kind of luxurious way to dress for daytime.

Tops include myriad sweaters, with or without jewels knitted in, along with flaring short jackets that again call attention to the waistline. Many have shallow scooped necklines and some are strapless. Black sweaters with what looks like white lace collars (they are part of the trompe l’oeil group and are knitted) have an old-fashioned look with wide gray and black striped full skirts.

Another skirt that seems destined to go on many spring outings has what the designer calls ”box pockets.” These are deep pockets set in the sides. As the mannequins whipped around the runway that circled the room, they tended to keep their hands in these pockets, making them stand out like Dutch boy pants. At ease, the pockets flipped over in a peg-top effect. These were shown in short lengths as well as long, enhancing their playful look.


Kenzo, 1983

Kenzo’s Fall/Winter 1983 campaign shot by Hans Feurer

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