It’s no exaggeration that Claude Montana shaped the look of the 1980s, but the radical designer also tore away from the exalted and impenetrable world of the fashion aristocracy. Influential and revered, his attitude and approach to design and creativity made him a pioneer of the era; a sans-culotte who overthrew the bastille of contemporary high culture.
In this new documentary, in collaboration with Farfetch and arbiters of contemporary vintage fashion Byronesque—who have joined forces on a limited edition reissue collection of signature designs from the French house—we revisit Montana’s legacy and explode the belief that it was just about shoulder pads and color-blocking. Instead, Claude Montana emerges as a truly innovative designer whose influence has continued into the modern era, finding inheritors among the likes of Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, and the avant-garde styles of Rick Owens. And in particular, Gareth Pugh, who partners with Byronesque as creative consultant to bring Montana pieces back for the first time in over 20 years.
Prior to Claude Montana’s explosive entry on the scene, fashion shows were gilded and exclusive affairs. The French auteur played to the gallery with spectacular and immersive shows that created waves among fashion followers and the press alike—fulfilling his ambition to make the industry relevant, sexy, and fun. As a result, the seductiveness of his collections gained a loyal and often manic fanbase. It’s no wonder, as one collaborator recalls, that “people used to bang down Montana’s doors to be allowed in.”
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