Style Throwback: chic Toronto women give style makeovers to the city’s big shots in Spring 1983

Style Throwback: chic Toronto women give style makeovers to the city’s big shots in Spring 1983

THROWBACK: Fashionable Toronto ladies give style makeovers to the city's bigshots (Spring 1983)

Recounting one’s own fashion history can bring up feelings of intense regret. So why bother when ogling other people’s questionable outfits from a safe distance is intensely enjoyable? In this inaugural edition of Style Throwback, we delve into the gloriously tacky decade of the ’80s—shoulder pads, sequins and all. In 1983, Toronto Life asked some of the city’s most stylish women, including opera singer Maureen Forrester and SCTV performer Andrea Martin, to choose fabulous outfits for powerful Toronto men, like Shoppers Drug Mart chair Murray Koffler and CityTV president Moses Znaimer. The puffy hairstyles, over-the-top expressions and bizarre apparel border on cringeworthy, but the setting is the oddest of all—piles of old newspapers draped in plastic.

Below, some noteworthy excerpts from the feature Dressed by Request, by Lynne St. DavidToronto Life, Spring/Summer 1983.

dressed by request[1]

Opera singer Maureen Forrester, dazzling in a combed-back coif and sequined shoulder pads, dresses Murray Koffler entirely in Simpsons suitwear and a sweater vest: the grandfather uniform that still reins supreme. Says Forrester of the Shoppers Chair, “Murray is so dapper, he certainly cuts a fine figure…I can just see him on a great stallion—or a short mare, whichever he prefers!”

dressed by request 1[1]

Looking ultra-composed in the power trifecta of shoulder pads, a perm and shiny pumps, Andrea Martin, a performer on SCTV, dresses up her producer Andrew Alexander in a white military uniform from Malabar—apparently to accentuate his figure. “He’s a conservative eater and watches his weight. He probably has the classic dimensions for a man…but I’ve never seen him in a military outfit.”

dressed by request 3[1]

Author and broadcaster Lynn Gordon decides to don the same leather trousers as the exuberant president of CityTV, Moses Znaimer. She tops of his look with a classic 80s sports jacket from Holt Renfrew. “Moses is the kind of man I tend to go for. It’s that not-too-tall, compact type of man, powerful, projecting a strength.”

dressed by request 2[1]

In this last shot, singer Salome Bey, rocking braids and a power blazer, transforms the owner of jazz club Bourbon Street, Doug Cole, into a dapper gentleman by outfitting him with a Harry Rosen tux. Apparently he’s usually more of a tacky sweater sort of man: “He’s a cowboy at heart, not a clotheshorse…I have seen him in some outrageous ties, you know the kind that look like someone gave them to him for Christmas.”