Vintage Rewind: 1980s Take the Alps

Amelia Holloway 30 January 2019

Wavy garms, Depop and good nights out. All things one might not immediately associate with Cambridge.  At least, I’m not cool enough to pull them off. That is until Varsity Trip comes around, and suddenly the slopes become a competition space for who can wear the most colourfully obscure garms, with all the more points if they are legitimately vintage. Thankfully, my mum has a penchant for outrageous clothing, and inability to throw anything away. Thanks to her, I won the vintage ski jacket game hands down.

The story starts with a late 80s trip to St Anton. Sally (Mummy Holloway) and Steve (Dad Holloway) took to the slopes. And, judging from our last family trip to St Anton’s après, which culminated in a Sally, saturated in mulled wine, lying at my feet asking to be ‘carried home’, they will have hit it pretty hard. The 80s were fun, but its style even more so.

What a jacket. But it wouldn’t have stood out in the 80’s.

A ski holiday is never tame, and this jacket certainly saw a few things. Mum’s most notable memory from all her years skiing? The Three Valleys in 1992: It was the home run for après, and things were accustomed to getting out of hand. One girl, unsuccessful in her snowplow endeavour, flew straight down the slope, across a restaurant patio, was catapulted out of her skis… and straight through the restaurant saloon style doors which, like in a bad western movie, were left swinging back and forth as she disappeared from sight. So the adventures continued until a bad fall and a daughter in the mid 90s meant Sally stacked up her skis for the foreseeable.

Fast forward to 2013, a wet English boxing day, and the family were packing for the year’s ski holiday. Out comes the box from under the bed, with decades of odd gloves and snoods, and at the bottom is the jacket. Mum jokes that she’s going to take it, I cringe with sheer embarrassment, and back it goes into hibernation under the bed. But, mums are always right, and soon I was eating my words and asking to borrow it. The past may have a habit of repeating itself, and fashion trends certainly do – there’s only a certain amount of creativity in the world after all.  This December, the jacket was dusted off (to mums absolute smugness) and was brought along to Val Thorens, for it to relive its après hay day.

Who wore it better? Sadly we all know my mum did.

Now I am no depop fiend, but this jacket got attention on ski lifts, at bars, and by every single person I met in coat check. What I thought was evidence of my uncool Mum’s extremely questionable fashion sense, had become a glorious reminder of the fun days of fashion’s past. Honestly, wavy garms are not my style. The modern combination of 70s metallics and 80s colours influencing many current designs send me running for the hills, back to a safely fitted black puffer. But I have to admit, it is nice to stand out on the slopes, especially when the jacket has a story as fun as this ones.  Plus, it’s pretty much a given that the 80s and 90s was the time to be alive. Who am I to knock a bit of neon and a bit of spandex if that’s what came with Madonna and Olivia Newton-John?