The Eighties: Banish Thoughts of Moderation
A Day in the 80s
Big hair, break dancing, and Bice: How to cram the Greed Decade’s trends into 24 hours.
Excess and exaggeration are the bywords of eighties culture, so banish any thoughts of moderation. Pump up your hair with a handful of Sebastian Shaper mousse (CVS; 646-602-8237). Then upholster your shoulders with a black leather Azzedine Alaia coat (Vintage Collections; 212-717-7702); add Alain Mikli sunglasses (212-751-6085) and a pair of bright-red, cone-heeled Charles Jourdan slingbacks (Cherry; 212-924-1410). Before you leave the house, catch Rick Springfield’s reprise as Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital while ordering tickets for The Phantom of the Opera (212-239-6200), which started back in 1986 and is about to become the longest-running show on Broadway. With an outfit like that, you probably work in fashion, so lunch at Bice while reading the original, pre–Condé Nast Details (Gallagher’s Fashion Archive; 212-473-2404). Then cab it to Mary Boone’s Chelsea gallery to see eighties art star David Salle’s newest pomo paintings (212-752-2929), and consider buying one of Robert Mapplethorpe’s hard-core photos; the tough subject matter makes them more affordable (Sean Kelly Gallery; 212-239-1181). And don’t forget your aerobics! Tonight, it’s a popping-and-locking lesson with Rock Steady Crew member Pop Master Fabel (Steps on Broadway; 212-874-2410). Plenty of places still do fusion cuisine, but one of the best is the Biltmore Room (212-807-0111); now that you’ve felt the burn, tuck into giant prawns with honey-ginger vinaigrette and mango-mint salsa. Go home, preferably to an Upper East Side high-rise, for a little pre-party. Break out the you-know-what, and blast Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid in Full (Fat Beats; 212-673-3883). The East Village institution that is the Pyramid Club is still hosting Gay Eighties night on Fridays (212-228-4888). Prepare for the extended remix of “Borderline.” Or try Stereo, a new Chelsea club decorated with Walkmans and boom boxes (212-244-1965).
Living the Life
Claw Money grew up in Roslyn Harbor, Long Island, but she spent every possible moment of the eighties hanging out in downtown Manhattan—Danceteria, MK, Sticky Mike’s Frog Cafe—and perfecting her graffiti skills all over the city. Now 37, Claw (she doesn’t use, and won’t reveal, her real name) dresses like she’s lunching at Odeon with Maripol circa 1983—side ponytail, a single dangling earring, Stephen Sprouse fluorescent-yellow camouflage dress. Her career is in art and fashion (she’s featured in the graffiti documentary Infamy), but her passion is collecting artifacts from her youth.
“I love eighties fashion because it was so garish and so unapologetic,” she says. “To this day, my mom and sister think I’m a terrible dresser. They can’t believe I’m a fashion editor.” One of her favorite vintage stores is Red White and Blue in Paterson, New Jersey, where she once scooped up hundreds of Dior logo bags for about $5 each (and later sold them to Foley + Corinna and Resurrection).
Claw’s collections are specific to eighties New York, when the punk-rock and hip-hop scenes mixed freely. “Nobody is archiving this stuff, and it’s important. Why shouldn’t it be me?” she says. More than half of her 2,000 pairs of sunglasses are Cazals, “the old Jewish man in Miami glasses,” popularized by Run-DMC. She paid Cazals about $10,000 for its overstock. She scored 100 Norma Kamali designs at an estate sale in Morristown, New Jersey. Claw’s 25-plus boom-box collection includes Sharp’s VZ-2500, “a real Cadillac,” found for about $150 at the 26th Street flea market. She uses them to listen to cassettes of Stetsasonic and Flock of Seagulls, when she’s not rocking out on her Walkman, spongy earphones and all. “I never use my iPod. Ever.”
The pride of her 500-sneaker collection is a pair of $800 LL Cool J Troops. She even collects eighties spray paint, whose quality, she says, was far superior; colors like Hot Raspberry Enamel go for upwards of $400 on eBay. But she considers a Canal Street creation to be one of her most important pieces. Bought for $45, the bag is covered with the Pierre Cardin logo, stamped Dior on the inside, and closes with a Gucci pull chain. “It appropriates the status of three different labels,” says Claw, “turning it into this totally accessible streetwear. It is so specific to that one time in New York.”
What’s Hot Now
FJ40 Land Cruiser
The 1983 FJ40 Land Cruiser originally sold for $6,500. Today, it will set you back $35,000. Its cult status comes not just from its square-jawed looks and muscular engine, but, crucially, because there are so few of them: Under 250 were imported to the U.S., and it was the last year Land Cruisers were made. José Rivera, a mechanic, restorer, and dealer in East Orange, N.J., specializes in eighties Cruisers and only sells about a dozen a year (973-943-1705 for more info).