French designer Claude Montana was born in Paris in 1947, and began his career in the jewellery industry, before moving onto leatherwork. Along with Thierry Mugler, he favoured bold shoulders and dynamic silhouettes, with his leather coats catching the eye of the public at his first show in 1976. Montana’s designs looked to the past with a nostalgia for the 40s and 50s, along with a preference for bold colours, including bright blues and reds, and luxurious, tactile materials. The House of Montana was established in 1979, and quickly rose to the forefront of 80s high fashion, along with Thierry Mugler’s eponymous brand. Montana’s name became synonymous with his famous phrase, “shoulders forever”, but by the later 1980s he had begun to soften his lines towards a more natural, relaxed silhouette. By the 1990s his designs leaned into the futuristic trend for sixties Space Age revival, and were shown in increasingly extravagant fashion shows which inspired later designers such as Alexander McQueen. Though he has now largely retired from designing, vintage Montana pieces are still widely collectable, known for their balance of radicalism and wearable design.

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