As 1980s sass continues to inform fashion, vintage e-store Byronesque has partnered with Farfetch to revive key pieces by arguably the period’s most influential but now somewhat overlooked designer, Claude Montana. The collection painstakingly recreates iconic looks as part of a project that Byronesque’s founder Gill Linton describes as a “labour of love”.
On initially perusing the idea with Farfetch, the team discovered that Montana’s archive had disappeared following the closure of the brand and sale of the name in 1997, so they brought on board British designer Gareth Pugh – a talent also known for razor-sharp tailoring and a strong shoulder line – as design consultant. “As a student, I was aware of Montana as a reference,” Pugh says, “but I only realised how iconic he was when I started to show in Paris. He is known for huge shoulders, but there is much more to his work – such attention to detail, and with hand decoration and work in leather that is almost couture.”
Linton describes the project as real detective work. “We tracked down the factories in Italy that worked with Montana and they showed us original catwalk pictures that we could interpret. We even found some of the embroiderers still working,” she says. “They had great memories of the collections and were very proud to help.”
The items chosen for the collection epitomise Montana’s vision. “He was one of the first to work in full leather,” Linton says. “And the brown embroidered dress – the decoration alone takes 110 hours per dress – looks formal, but it’s a simple wrap, perfectly cut. Plus he was the first to elevate sporty casuals to true luxury with his signature leather blousons and jumpsuits.” Alongside these creations are an embroidered leather “eagle” dress, a super-boxy coat, oversized blouses and a hooded puffa. All the pieces are intended as collectors’ items and are limited in number – from just 10-50 per style. They are priced from £175 for a T-shirt, sporting a sharp shoulder line and an updated version of Montana’s distinctive logo, to £3,250 for the leather “eagle” dress.
The range is exclusive to Farfetch but available also at Browns, which is owned by the same group.