Who is Bonnie Boerer and what is so special about her 80s sweaters?
If you love 80s sweaters, you should know the name Bonnie Boerer. She founded her company in the early eighties, and produced the craziest, gliziest designs, full of sequins, beads, rhinestones, and embroidery.
Her imagination ran wild, from sweaters celebrating casinos (see left), Hollywood, pop songs, cartoons, art, and more. “Anything to get out of life’s humdrums,” said Bonnie, when asked to explain her style.
Bonnie Boerer, a resident of Livingston NJ, passed away in 2014, leaving a vast collection of her 80s items. Backward Glances was lucky to be invited to purchase from this treasure trove. Now that fall has arrived, we’ve stocked these wonderful 80’s sweaters in our Asbury Park store. You can take home one of these beauties for $40. The quality is incredible, and all the shoulder-pads are removable.
I never got to meet Bonnie, but I feel like I’ve made her acquaintance her after seeing the care she put into her designs, and reading up on her life. Her parents owned a women’s specialty store in Linden, NJ, and her mother had a degree in fashion from the Pratt Institute in New York City.
Bonnie founded “Bonnie Boerer & Company” in 1983. Bonnie ran everything. In addition to design and production, she handled advertising, marketing, and finances. She manufactured the clothes though her Hong Kong corporation, and sold them in her New York Showroom, with a staff of 30. Fancy stores from coast to coast sold her designs. She closed the company over a decade later, leaving a legacy of glamour and whimsy.
In her later life, Bonnie Boerer turned to painting, and held exhibitions in galleries. Her style was said to be reminiscent of art deco master Erte, and also featured vibrant nautical landscapes, flowers and butterflies. It appears that the details she put into her clothing designs extended to her artwork as well.
“Women found out they can achieve a lot more by looking feminine than they can by looking like a man,” said Bonnie in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1987.
So now you have met Bonnie Boerer. You can see just a few of her 80s sweaters that we have in stock below. Stop by the store to meet them in person.