80s revival perfectly timed for party season

Perfectly timed for party season, Eighties eveningwear is making a big, shiny comeback (with bows on). Katie Wright runs down your retro shopping list

River Island's Black Velvety Frill Bodycon Dress, £65, from

WHERE Hedi Slimane goes, the fash pack follows, so when the designer delved deep into the Eighties for his final Saint Laurent show earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before retailers followed suit (or should that be cocktail dress?).

It actually took a little while for the trend to trickle down, but now the Christmas collections have landed on the high street, Slimane's influence is keenly felt – the style codes of that OTT era scream from every shop window. In a good way, though; who doesn't love a bit of ruffle and razzle-dazzle when shopping for going-out gear?

It's time to shake those winter blues and embrace the 80s...


The focus was firmly on the waist at Saint Laurent, as teeny tiny cocktail dresses were cinched in with metallic belts and wide cummerbunds. For an all-out 80s homage, look for structured bustier and strapless dresses, or for something a little more modest, a long-sleeved bodycon dress gives the ideal silhouette without all that exposure.

:: Topshop '80s Jacquard Bandeau Dress, £75 (

:: Nadine Merabi Kina Long Sleeve Mini Dress, £245, LittleBlackDress (


Ruffles and bows are staples on the Eighties fashion menu, but we're not talking delicate frills and ties. When it comes to this season's stylings, the bigger the better – think structural waves on LBDs and gigantic bows that are pretty not practical.

:: River Island Black Velvety '90s Frill Bodycon Dress, £65 (

:: Siren by Giles Deacon Black Bow One Shoulder Top, currently reduced to £45 from £65, Debenhams (


Nothing says Eighties glam like a spangly one-shoulder number, and there are plenty to choose from this season. And the good thing about these asymmetrical frocks and tops is they often come with enough detailing (sequins, ruffles and shimmer) that you need very little in the way of accessories.

:: Siren by Giles Deacon Black One Shoulder Ruffle Detail Dress, currently reduced to £84 from £120, Debenhams (

:: Topshop Eyelet One Shoulder Dress, £125 (

:: V by Very One Shoulder Sequin Top, currently reduced to £25 from £30 (


The high street is awash with sequins this month, of course, but how to sparkle 80s-style? Graphic flashes of shimmer are good – zig-zags and star motifs hit the right note – while clingy all-over sequins are even better. Try a dark hue and pair with velvet accessories to nail two winter trends in one.

:: V by Very Zig Zag Sequin Bodycon Knitted Dress, £32; Kendal Lace Up Strappy Heeled Sandal, £32; Canvas Parka Coat, currently reduced to £50 from £55 (

:: River Island Red Turtleneck Sequin Dress, £55 (


Leopard was the print that ruled the decade, especially when it was given a metallic makeover. It's a combination that makes for effortlessly edgy eveningwear: let a molten animal print frock be the focus of your ensemble and keep accessories on the subtle side.

:: Biba Gold Stitch Detail Real Suede Top, currently reduced to £89.40 from £149, and matching Printed Skirt, currently reduced to £89.40 from £149, House of Fraser (

:: River Island Pink Print Ruffle Strap Dress, £65 (

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