Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Eighties

So what was the eighties really like? This was the question I was asked on Newsnight last night. Was it all about strikes, industrial melt-down, the miner's strike and a return to austerity?

Well these were all certainly part of it but I also remember the optimism, the explosion of colour and design, the music and the creativity being shown by the young who with no money would create some amazing new outfit to wear to their local club where they would dance the night away.

It was when Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Katharine Hamnett, Bodymap and others were bringing out fashion that would have influence all over the world. It was when Boy George, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and The Eurythmics were bringing exciting new sounds and looks to our ears - when Manchester led by Tony Wilson was the centre of Northern music and cuture - when Neville Brody and The Face Magazine and Terry Jones at I.D. Mag were breaking the boundaries of graphics and publishing and Ben Kelly and others were bringing industrial waste into retail and club design including my own shop Mrs Howie in Covent Garden.

It was when Bob Geldorf, prompted by Paula Yates, initiated Live Aid and got us all caring about world poverty; when Katharine Hamnett brought out her slogan Peace T-shirts, bringing politics into fashion, based on the Buddhist Expo Chose Life I took her too and when I got the fashion business chanting every morning during London Fashion Week that the tents to house the designer shows that I put up in Kings Road would become the huge success they were - leading the way 25 years later for the success of British Fashion worldwise.

These were the memories too of the friends I bumped into last night at the Notting Hill shop opening of Californian-based interior designer Rachel Ashwell, creator of the influential Shabby Chic look. Even more exciting is that so many of us involved in the explosion of the creative industries in the eighties are still here causing waves of social and creative change that can balance out the austerity that is clearly coming our way again. Have a good day!


  1. Hi Lynne,

    Great blog! I remember reading about your life in the 80's for the first time about 12 years ago, sitting on the floor at the Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica (because it was a Saturday and there were no seats available!), in your book ABSOLUTELY NOW. What a great read! Of course I bought the book and devoured it over that weekend -- highly recommended to anyone out there who hasn't yet read it by the way.

    I can honestly say that reading about your experiences during that period in the 80's with Lynne Franks PR inspired me on so many levels, and was a big turning point for me in my life. ABSOLUTELY NOW is still one of my all-time favorite Business books (along with Anita Roddick's BODY & SOUL) for that reason.

    Thanks for that Lynne and for a trip down memory lane with this post!


  2. The 80's was a time where women believed they could have everything and anything that they were equal to men (which obviously we still are but also different so the equality is not parallel) but it created role confusion as now the children of the 80s, like myself, are reaching their 40s, and battling with our domestic versus career responsibilities. Once a woman has children she becomes a 'mother' and once you are a 'mother' your image is distorted to all those who view it. Once 'the wife' becomes a mother 'the husband' often transitions back to child. As a child of the 80s I struggle with this concept daily. I do not enjoying being the family servant.

    PS: I preferred the 90s to the 80s musically and fashion-wise - the 80s was too Black Forest Gateau.

    PPS: You are a legend, I don't dispute that.