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Past Perfect

Past Perfect: 1982

Past Perfect BY liz 12/30/2016

Sometimes the only way to go forward is to go backward (uh, style-wise, at least—otherwise, bring on those progressive values!). Welcome to Past Perfect, where we take an aesthetic trip down memory lane to shout out the looks, books, and other enduring pop-culture creations from a particularly notable 12 months. We think it’ll be way more fun than a high school history lesson—but only time will tell.


It’s hard to believe Ridley Scott’s dystopian thriller wasn’t an immediate hit when it was released, but over the years, it’s gone from cult classic to seminal sci-fi masterpiece (and, hey, a sequel is in the works!). The film’s retro/future fashion mashup of the forties and eighties still looks fresh and influences runway lewks (like, for instance, Saint Laurent’s fall 2016 collection), and the graphic-design sensibility has been resurfacing in places like Stranger Things. If you’ve somehow never seen Harrison Ford here in studded, angular clothing or just need a refresher, get the plot rundown via this amazing Tumblr project.

1 balderunner


Two words: Game. Changer. Michael Jackson’s sixth album wasn’t just about the iconic singles like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.” With “Thriller,” he turned the music-video game up to 11. To this day, despite the sad controversies that engulfed the end of the artist’s life, Thriller is the best-selling album of all time—65 million copies and counting—and Michael’s sick dance moves are referenced in pop culture over and over (and over) again. Sometimes by Barack and Michelle Obama, in fact.

2 thriller


Before the emoji, there was the emoticon—you know, those old-fangled, punctuation-mark creations—and we have computer scientist Scott Fahlman to thank. The aim: to help colleagues parse jokes and sarcasm from serious posts on online message boards. Turns out, Fahlman is a bigger fan of colons-as-eyeballs than he is of dancing ladies in red dresses. Maybe he needs to take a peep at Cher’s epic Twitter feed to become an emoji convert?

3 emoticon


For real: These sunglasses were everywhere in the eighties. And it’s all because this year the company paid for film and TV product placement to boost sagging sales. The now-iconic wearers: Tom Cruise in Risky Business, Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, Detective Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice. In case you didn’t notice, the shades made a huge comeback in the early aughts, and, by all accounts, they’re here to stay.

4 rayban


For a lot of us, it’s hard to imagine a time when Wills and Harry weren’t dominating the news with cuteness, and eventually, romantic intrigues (we’re so team Meghan Markle, btw). But none of it—including Duchess Kate and her nude wedges, and all things Pippa—would have been possible without Prince Harry’s birth on June 21st, 1982. P.S.: Aren’t you just crossing your fingers The Crown makes it to the Princess Di years?

5 princewilliam



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