Montana; Fashion Radical – A new release by Thames & Hudson

by Katie on July 13, 2011

@TeamChutzpah and I were just discussing when the Claude Montana revival would begin and lo and behold what appears – the glossiest fashion book ‘Montana’ from the iconic fashion publishers, Thames & Hudson.

Claude Montana is synonymous with 1980’s severity and sharp lines and for his notoriety in bankrupting Lanvin (costing them a reported $450 million).  His clothes oozed sexual dynamism, originality and power and harked back to Madame Gres who Montana greatly admired.  Materials, colours and cut were all vehicles for his talent.  

Montana’s genius lay in empowering women with echoes of dominatrix – leather was never far from the forefront of his collections which were shown on the real supermodels of the day – Linda Evangelista, Jeny Howarth and Chrystele.  In his time, Montana won two Golden Thimble Awards for producing outstanding collections at Lanvin (which makes his final demise from the Paris catwalk seem so much more poignant).

The book revels in the creativity and edginess of the 80’s era that’s so on trend for A/W ’12. Studded leather and lycra in Paolo Roversi’s soft light or the balletic beauty of black/white Dominique Isserman’s photography which casts the cut and swathes of Montana’s juxtaposing fabrics in stark yet soft light.  It focuses on the extraordinary new image that the Montana woman embodied: all shoulder-pads, razor-sharp tailoring and strong silhouettes with dramatic proportions and masculine lines, enlivened with an astonishing mix of detail and bold hues. 

The inclusion of Montana’s many original sketches as well as a final black and white pic of a hand holding the curved and twisted bottle of Montana Parfum de peau (1986) – its heady, peppery, glorious chypre ringing with big dozes of amber and patchouli, leaves the heart heavy with hedonistic longing for an era which will never be repeated.  I still own that distinctive fragrance which reeks of 80’s opulence and life.  It too is due an enormous revival.

Claude Montana; Fashion Radical – Claude Montana and Marielle Cro by Thames & Hudson. Price: £29.95

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