Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 1980's Le Chateau Leather

Today I received an email invitation to the opening of the newly renovated Le Chateau Store located in one of the major shopping malls here in London.  I haven't been in a Le Chateau store for a very long time, but I have fond memories of discovering the Canadian brand after I moved to London from the very small town where I grew up.  In the 1980's it was the place to go for trendy clothing and accessories that a girl working for minimum wage in retail could afford. Of course the quality was questionable, but these weren't investment pieces, they were things you wore mixed with thrift store finds when you went out to a club to go dancing, or to your job in a record store.  When I received the invitation, I knew I had to track down the above photo, taken in 1985 or 86.  I had seen the black leather skirt I'm wearing in the above photo at Le Chateau, and wanted it desperately.  At the time, it was the most expensive piece of clothing I had ever purchased, but I was in love with it, and wore it as often as I could.  In the photo, I am hanging out with friends, overdressed as usual, and apparently not wearing a bra.  

I  had been generously offered a gift card by the store in exchange for some publicity about the opening, so I looked at Le Chateau's website to see what kinds of things they sell now.  I was rather disappointed when instead of crazy sequins, fringe, bold patterns and leather,  I saw they had changed their focus and were now selling pretty-but-conservative styles targeted towards the young professional. 

If any of you in London are out at White Oaks Mall on Saturday, April 12th, stop by Le Chateau between 1 - 4 pm for some gifts, music, and Spring fashions.  The event will be hosted by Shawn Schmidt, the National Director, Visual Presention, for Le Chateau Inc.  I'm looking forward to asking him about their change in direction for the brand and waxing nostalgic over that leather skirt.


  1. That pic is perfect. I have several high waisted leather skirts. <3

  2. Love that picture of you! I dressed like that back in the 80s too. :) I still like Le Chateau - they are one of the few Canadian-owned chains that still does some manufacturing in Canada (many of their dresses and skirt-suits). I still pop in there for a look to see what is trending on the street (they still do trendy!), and to drool over their accessories (still fabulous). I have a vintage 80s Le Chateau top hat that I love.

  3. Look at you, I'd recognise that sexy chick anywhere! Love that you still love your leather clothing and have stayed true to your style.
    How disappointing that the label has gone all conservative and safe, what's wrong with the youth of today?! xxx

  4. uhh - the 80´s and the leather skirts and fishnet stockings.....
    you look like you had a lot of fun in this days. cool cat :-)

  5. You have always been fashionable cool! I too had a leather mini I saved up for, sadly I don't have it anymore. I love your honesty and am happy that you are gonna ask, what happened to the fun in your clothing line.

  6. I think most of us in those parts had something edgy from Le Chateau back in the day, or even today. I wander in from time to time and have been surprised at the prices, which I remember as being affordable mixers for thrifted stuff, as you described it so well. I love your photo and am glad you took the time to find it. Blast from the past all right. Jean of Dross Into Gold told me about a fashion trend called Normcore. Have you heard of that expression? Hideous!

    1. That's so funny - a friend just sent me an article about Normcore today! I had never heard of it before, and it seems to be a trend embraced by the teen to 25 year olds as a theoretical backlash against "the business of fashion" and "trying to hard to stand out". Not something I will be embracing.

    2. I hadn't heard of it either until Val from Muse Fondue suggested my Slob Chic look may be related to that trend, yikes.

  7. Oh Shelley, how fabulous to see a photo of the 80s version of you! Love the leather skirt, and that you still love your leather now. I'm not too sure there is much from my mid-1980s wardrobe I would wear now...
    It's a shame the clothing from the re-opened store is rather more conservative. Normcore? Wtf? No thanks! xxx

  8. Fantastic photo! I'm so glad you shared it. It's great seeing your nascent style, which was fabulous even then.

  9. Coolest photo ever! Last time I stepped into a LC it was full of trashy part wear for 20-somethings. I bought a lot there in the '80s too and I remember the quality being really good. I had a wool, all-lined houndstooth skirt that I wore the heck out of, and a heavy jersey cotton skirt and turtleneck number too. If memory serves, everything was made in Canada, way back then. Wonder if it's still Canadian-owned? .... Just checked out the website. Wow, so different from the edgy pieces we used to flock there for!

  10. I love that leather skirt! I found one while thrifting last year. Well, it's faux leather but the style is the same.

    I can still sometimes find some pieces in Le Chateau that I like. But I usually have to search quite a bit. I often hit their outlet store which isn't far from my home, although the last I was there was probably 2 years ago now. I sometimes find pieces of theirs in thrift or consignment stores.

    I do find that they make some great retro inspired pieces...or at least they did 2 years ago.

    I'll be interested to hear how you find the opening and if you get a chance to discuss the label.


  11. Good times! I'm totally biased, of course, but don't think there's been a decade since with even a fraction of the adventure, fun, excitement and newness that the 80s seemed so full of. That you've allowed your creative edge and style to flourish over the decades is like a wake-up call in these days of dreary, mindless trend-following.

  12. I think 80's style is a great inspiration to dress up and shine like a rock star!!, and you looked so fabulous in your leather skirt, really Cool!!

  13. Oh I love this picture! I'm sure I was at this party too, maybe wearing the same outfit! I wish I could capture the optimism of those days. Yes leather was so very expensive then. Love the tights and top. I showed my husband and he fondly said, "women looked great back then". So there you go..........

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