Claude Montana: The Lost Legend

French designer Claude Montana defined the '80s with the biggest shoulders of the decade. And while his rock star looks were definitive of the era, his label didn’t endure the changing times. Tim Blanks remembers Montana’s Spring 1992 collection.

Released on 2/26/2015

Credits

Starring: Tim Blanks

Music:
"1 in Heaven," MNDR

Transcript

00:00
When a designer keeps a crowd waiting for
00:01
an hour and a half, you know that
00:03
he has to be somebody pretty special.
00:05
(pop music)
00:18
This is Throwback Thursdays, I'm Tim Blanks.
00:20
Today a look at a fashion legend who's been
00:22
missing in action for years.
00:24
For stories like this, it'd be wise to subscribe
00:27
to the Style.com YouTube channel.
00:31
I'm talking about Claude Montana and this is
00:33
his collection for spring 1992.
00:36
He was a designer who defined the 80s quite literally
00:39
with a silhouette that had the biggest shoulders
00:41
in the west.
00:43
He was accused of fascist leanings because he would
00:46
do these coats that look like Storm Trooper coats
00:48
that were so huge.
00:50
He was also a master of precision and color.
00:53
Claude's shows are always perfection for me.
00:55
The line is always there and the color,
00:58
he's a perfectionist, the clothes are perfect.
01:00
I absolutely loved Claude Montana's clothes.
01:03
Montana was like a rockstar and his shows
01:05
were like rock shows.
01:06
The models moved so slowly and they looked like
01:09
they had been choreographed to the end.
01:11
They'd hold the most peculiar contorted positions,
01:13
there are few models he favored who could do this
01:17
s-back kind of thing.
01:18
He designed clothes for standing around
01:22
and looking absolutely imperious.
01:24
It was a time of masters and mistresses
01:26
of the universe and Montana made clothes
01:29
to dress these people like Gods fallen to earth.
01:36
There's something which is happening
01:39
which I don't normalize that much
01:40
is that almost anything goes you know.
01:44
People don't really look at clothes as clothes,
01:49
they are looking at shows, gadgets
01:54
and in fact nothing is serious.
01:58
I think just about every other designer
02:00
of his repute has in some way or another
02:04
insinuated themselves back into the fashion world
02:08
but there's something about Montana
02:10
that just seems to resist the idea of a renaissance.
02:13
It's partly his personality, he was an extraordinarily
02:16
difficult person, he hated being interviewed.
02:19
I would say that this is one of my classic
02:21
blood from a stone exchanges.
02:24
What do you want a woman to express with your clothes,
02:26
strength or eroticism or both?
02:31
Strength.
02:33
He would pause and make me say things
02:35
until I felt so self conscious I could hardly go on
02:38
but then he was paralyzed with self consciousness
02:40
as well.
02:41
Oh he's so shy, he's so shy you don't know.
02:44
He's two years old, he's a little boy
02:49
that has this major collection.
02:52
His life darkened is ways that it's very very hard
02:55
to come back from.
02:56
His wife committed suicide in very mysterious circumstances
02:59
and the times changed and Montana
03:03
was not a designer who could change with the times.
03:10
He was just one of those cautionary tales
03:12
that there have been others, designers who ruled
03:14
their moment like Halston for example in America
03:17
who history just wasn't kind to ultimately.
03:23
I think it's a terrible tragedy because Montana's work
03:27
was absolutely definitive in its moment
03:30
and really deserves a lot more attention
03:33
that just isn't that much that exists about him
03:37
so anytime you can find anything I just fall on it
03:40
because it's a story that I would love
03:42
to have told to me.
03:55
But I'm curious to know what you think when you're looking
03:57
at something like this, if I'm raving about this show
04:00
that meant so much to me at the time,
04:02
how does it register now, I'd love to hear your comments.
04:05
This has been Throwback Thursdays and I'm Tim Blanks.
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