Back to the 80’s

by Kitty Drake in June 2021
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Archivio is a magazine that constructs its issues out of archive material. This edition is devoted to the eighties and begins with an epistolary interview with Giorgio Armani, in which the iconic designer talks in loving detail about the clothes that defined the period. The letters exchanged include many revealing moments; Armani talks about his memories of his father, the loneliness of the eighties, and the moment when his partner, Sergio Galeotti left him. Going through your own archive, it seems, is an invitation to speak personally, much like sharing your desert island discs. 

Such is Armani’s significance to the period that key designs from his archive — the suit Richard Gere wears in American Gigolo, for example — double as key cultural moments from the eighties. In this way, the letters function as a kind of story of the decade, told in the designer’s own words. Armani’s description of Gere putting on a suit is particularly thrilling:

“Just look at the way Richard Gere walks, with that jacket that shows off his muscles and the trousers that caress his legs. It’s a revelation of the male figure that was unthinkable before the unstructured jacket, on which I had been working since my first menswear collection in 1975”.

Archivio is structured with satisfying simplicity. The central section, entitled ‘Cabinet’ is a series of Q&As in which professional archivists give us a guided tour of their collections — the interview with Dolce Cioffo, the special project manager of Vivienne Westwood’s archive, is my personal highlight.

The rest of the magazine is devoted to photographs from the period, which are printed full-bleed, and without any captions; if you want to find out the story behind a particular photo you have to flick to the index at the back. While some industrious readers may consistently flick back and forth, most will simply turn the pages and encounter the images without context, at least for the first time. Experiencing the images in this way is freeing: like being transported back in time to the eighties and walking through a series of streets.

Below are some of the most evocative spreads.


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