The eighties

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The casual fashion attitude of the seventies created a backdrop for a mature modern fashion environment and numerous fashion evolutions in the 1980s. Several successful fashion designers like the Americans Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger and the Japanese Yoji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Kenzo Takada gained global prominence during this decade. At the same time, the casual style of Ralph Lauren became widely appealing in America. The rest of the world interpreted this look through the wide adoption of denim and jeans trousers. German designer Karl Lagerfeld also launched his fashion house in 1984, around the concept of a brave anti-status style and in line with the fashion society's demand for unfussiness.

The 1980s was also the decade that saw a major change in the global perception of beauty, with the rising status of highly paid black models like Iman, Naomi Campbell and Beverley Johnson. The ascent of fashion models also led the way to the advent of supermodels as celebrities. The promotion of supermodels was pioneered by Gianni Versace, who also enhanced the use of colours and prints in fashion design through his Miami Beach inspired collections. The stimulation of fashion through multiple sources also extended to ethnic influences from Africa, India, China and the Mexican peasant looks. At the same time, Britain's Princess Diana injected a much needed fresh style into the British fashion scene. The impacts of these influences were felt on a global level, with the increase in international travel and communications.

The 1980s was also the decade of Punk Culture and a radical fashion revolution, pioneered by designer Zandra Rhodes. It featured a rebellious attitude towards fashion that was prevalent throughout the decade. This culture was also propelled by musicians like Madonna and music groups and rock bands like the Sex Pistols.

The decade's revolutions also encouraged the association of fashion with modern art. In 1983, Yves Saint Laurent became the first living designer to have his clothes presented in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, to honour his 20 years of fashion contribution. Exhibitions featuring other talented designers have also been held in several museums in different cities.

Several major changes in luxury fashion management also took place in the 1980s. They include multiple mergers, acquisitions and alliances among companies, propelled by global business sophistication. These processes revealed the importance of the concept of branding as an intangible asset for companies. It also led several luxury brands to take steps to strengthen their brand assets. Examples of these steps include the appointment of Karl Lagerfeld (who was at ChloƩ for 20 years) by Chanel in 1983, to revive the iconic French brand.

However, the most notable fashion business phenomenon of the 1980s was the assumption of Bernard Arnault as the President of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey) in 1989. Arnault would later turn LVMH into the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate and launch a new era of strategic management in the modern luxury fashion sector. His later assemblage of a portfolio of luxury brands would also spark attempts at consolidations in the luxury goods sector, leading to the creation of rival luxury conglomerates such as PPR (Pinault, Printemps, Redoute), which owns the Gucci Group; Richemont, which owns Cartier and ChloƩ among others; and the Prada Group, which owns Prada and Miu Miu among others.

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