top of page
  • Nicolas Dal Sasso Doering


Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Golden Eighties, or how to summarise a decade of fashion and design into a 55-minute documentary for Arte: the challenge of telling a rise-and-fall story from a certain perspective and focusing on 4 leading figures - Thierry Mugler, Azzedine Alaia, Jean Paul Gaultier and Claude Montana.

These four talented individuals and troublemakers would certainly shake up the fashion world, offering their own unique takes on the female silhouette and serving as a showcase for French design. The story of a “larger than life” fashion that people fantasised about, promoted by spectacular shows and attitudes and hordes of fans.

A period - the ’80s - during which fashion went from the catwalk to the street, when models were still at the mercy of designers and, whilst perhaps not spanning the whole spectrum of sizes, were at least already representative of all colours. Fashion that, as the ultimate luxury, would be broadcast on prime-time television, the most popular medium of the time.

This film takes a sometimes cruel but always enlightening look at a decade that began with a bang, with fashion becoming fashionable and being referred to as a “major art” by newly elected President François Mitterrand.

These were different times, with different customs, and these were also the days before the Internet, which altered the balance of power; a time when buyers and journalists from the written press called all the shots and determined whether a collection would sink or swim. The film's subtitles, read by unidentified voices, offer an insight into the egos, the drugs, the tribes, the rivalries, the ambitions and indeed the beginnings of an industry that, just a few decades later, would bring structure to fashion design and bring the most fragile to their knees.

This was also a decade that would come to a bittersweet end, everyone aiming to reinvent themselves without any sense of parody, some saved by a fragrance, or a graceful, all-important reinvention, others perhaps by passing on the torch.

This 55-minute insight is tarnished only by the fact that other major talents of the time, and female ones in particular, barely get a mention, if indeed they do.

So let’s treat this report as a taster and hope there’s a post-‘me too’ era GOLDEN EIGHTIES 2 to come.


Coproduction between ARTE France, LALALA and INA

Directed by Olivier Nicklaus. 2012

Available on ARTE TV until 24/07/22

46 views0 comments


bottom of page