Between Authority and Resistance: The Terminator’s New Clothes

By Richard McKenna

Although apparently naked upon its arrival in the gloomy labyrinth of 1984, the Terminator is, of course, already wearing a costume: the layer of flesh and hair covering the titanium bones of its endoskeleton, which allows it to pass for human. Over the course of the film, though, the titular cybernetic assassin procures for itself two further and distinct outfits—-suits of fashionable armor associated with a wounded and dangerous type of modern masculinity…

Designs for Radicalness: ‘Thrasher’ Magazine, March, 1986

The sport and art of skateboarding advanced rapidly in the 1980s, as did the subculture surrounding it. Though limited mostly to the contest circuit and empty pools and reservoirs (a Southern California discovery brought about by drought) in the previous decade, the invention of the polyurethane wheel and other advancements—wider, lighter, concaved decks with a pronounced kicktail—allowed skateboarders to go faster and develop new tricks…

Get Smart: ‘Look-in’ Pop Annual, 1982

Christmas day, 1982. Stomach heavy with the contents of her Cadbury selection box, swaddled in the acrylic comfort of her new Argos pyjamas, the typical tween’s thoughts have naturally turned to the god-like powers of creation afforded by the inevitable coloring section of the holiday Annual. Look-in’s 1982 offering is fashion-based, with four pages featuring the year’s hottest trends for our eager youth to adorn in felt tip…

Spoiled Scions of the Middle Class: ‘Paninaro’ Magazine, 1986 – 1989

The Italy of the early 1980s was a country in a state of transformation. The post-war economic boom which had been particularly strong in the industrialized North of the country was peaking, and a generation of young people were rejecting the factional politics that, through the unresolved legacies of Fascism and Communism, continued to inform, and to some extent dictate, life in the country…

Westminster Typeface, 1964/1965

Together with Bob Newman’s perhaps better known 1970 typeface Data 70, the Westminster typeface represented a significant shift in the intrusion of the digital world into the real one, and still remains a potent and evocative symbol of futurist aspirations and fears…

Channel 4 Ident, 1982

By the early 1980s, the creation of a fourth British television channel had become a moot issue. In 1955, the license-fee-funded BBC1 had been joined by the commercial Independent Television network (ITV), legally identified as Channel 3, and in 1964, these two were joined by BBC2, the first European television channel to broadcast regularly in color…

The Chrysler Cordoba de Oro, 1970

The Chrysler Cordoba de Oro was a concept car unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in 1970. Designed by Elwood Engel, Chrysler’s design chief from 1961 to 1974, the future-forward vehicle had a cantilevered roof, no A-pillars (the vertical supports in the window area connecting the roof to the car body), and experimental, grille-shaped headlights…

Burger King Exterior, Circa 1978

Burger King, founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, emerged in the 1980s as one of the main nationwide competitors to McDonald’s in the United States. In 1978, the probable year of this photo, former McDonald’s executive Donald N. Smith began revamping Burger King’s image, which included taking power away from franchisees, refreshing and standardizing the restaurant chain’s look, and most importantly adding new items to the menu…

Power and Protection: Shoulder Pad Fashions, 1979 – 1989

The shoulder pad—whose origins lay in the protective padding used in military uniforms—first became a feature of female fashion in the build-up to and during the Second World War. Perhaps in response to the militarization of society then underway, its expressionist lines were introduced by prominent designers like Elsa Schiaparelli, whose work was heavily influenced by the surrealism of Cocteau and Dalí…