The ’80s were wild! We’re talking about a decade where people wore socks with high heels and rubber guards over the faces of their watches. But nothing was wilder than the jungle-themed visuals that permeated the art, entertainment and fashion realms. From tropical prints to vegetation-rich settings in music videos, it truly was a jungle out there…
It was the ’80s after all. The decade of decadence. The age of excess. Sure, earthy jungle motifs could be found, but the 1980s brought colorful updates to this style and added sparkle to the mix. For example, there were leopard prints…and then there were leopard prints with a twist, as shown in this purple- and blue-dotted fabric that was featured on a dress by designer Diane Fres:
Green and brown were no longer the main colors of choice. A neon jungle had emerged. Like the brightly-lit palm trees and hut that formed the backdrop for the video of Toto Coelo’s “I Eat Cannibals” (top picture), ’80s jungle visuals showcased a glitzed-up version of life in the wild.
Similarly, the still from Baltimora’s 1985 hit “Tarzan Boy” (bottom picture) shows that just as a leopard-print frock can be updated with an edgy jacket, a jungle setting can be updated with a color-changing background and artistic representations of palm trees.
If Toto Coelo and Baltimora represented the neon jungle, ABC brought the gold lamé jungle to viewers. As stills from their 1982 hit “Poison Arrow” show (below), just because you’re at a night club doesn’t mean the palm trees and tribal masks won’t follow you inside…
Let’s go now to a Mirror80 favorite when it comes to books on fashion from our favorite decade: 1980s Fashion Print by Marnie Fogg (available at Amazon.com). In addition to leopard-print fabric near the beginning of this post (also from the book), check out the jungle-inspired patterns below:
Left: fabric from Versus, the Versace diffusion line; Right: a design from a scarf sold at the London store, Liberty
We’ll leave you with two more stills from noteworthy ’80s videos in jungle settings. Let’s hear it for the innovative Bow Wow Wow, whose striking fashion and tribal rhythms permeated their album See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy. Yes, that’s the actual name of the album. In the video for “Chihuahua,” lead singer Annabella Lwin took to the jungle with edgy outfits and fabric-braided hair (see below, left). On the right is a still from the video for Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” We see lead singer Simon Le Bon in an intense jungle face-off involving tribal paint and what appears on both sides to be a mixture of surprise and intimidation tactics:
Maybe that’s what made the ’80s jungle so unforgettable–that element of the unexpected in a setting that can’t help but be wild!