Claude Montana is back. Sorta.
According to WWD, reclusive ’80s powerhouse designer Claude Montana will have three designs featured in Eric Tibusch’s couture show this evening. Montana’s presence was teased as a mere “C.M.” on the invitations.
The designer, who hasn’t had a show since 2002 and whose third hit on Google is from 1996, is most famous for the bold, structured, and colorful looks which helped define ’80s fashion. You know those blazers in the back of your mom’s closet with the sky high shoulder pads that were perfect for playing dress-up? You have Claude Montana to thank for that.
Along with Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier, Montana ran the fashion scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His shows were the stuff of legend due to their incredible styling and presentation, in addition to perfectly tailored clothes and spectacular use of luxury materials.
Like the economy of the time, all that luxury and excess eventually called for a scaled-back return to simplicity. Montana also may have had good reason for his recent years of reclusion. Despite winning two Golden Thimble awards for the critically-acclaimed haute couture collections he designed for Lanvin from 1990-1992, he was blamed for bankrupting the fashion house and losing them $50 million. Though openly gay, he married model and muse Wallis Franken Montana, and was said to be so abusive that his treatment of her was a major factor in her 1996 suicide. Montana’s own company, House of Montana, filed for bankruptcy in 1997.