Faster than you can say “Working Girl,” the massive shoulder is back. The shape can look fearsome: sharp and pointy as a batwing, hulking as Frankenstein’s monster, or oddly swelled—like a being from outer space. It’s fitting that some of the grandest 1980s divas of the big and small screens (we’re talking about the broads who could whip you in a catfight: Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, the mean teens of Heathers, or the dames of Dynasty) were known for their extra padding. Sharpen your claws for the top she-wolf highlights of the season.
1 Is Joan Collins wearing floaties? Her upper arms look even more buoyant than we remembered. And something sinister lurked under all that tufted taffeta. Zac Posen evoked this louche look in his show. Mud fight, anyone?
2 It seems in the 1980s, the crueler the high-school girl, the bigger her shoulder pads. For an imposing entrance into the school cafeteria—or to charge down city streets like an unstoppable quarterback—Donna Karan piled it on.
3 Faye Dunaway gave us nightmares as the wire-hanger-wielding Joan Crawford, her looming shoulders the physical incarnation of her tyrannous temper. Her 1940s Hollywood dress channels a futuristic vibe, much like this sequin-filled showing by hot French label Balmain.
Photography: (runway images) courtesy of designers; (Collins) © Aaron Spelling Prod., (Heathers) © New World Pictures, (Dunaway) © Paramount, all courtesy Everett Collection