Dating Yourself With Trends

Before I touch on this, watch this horrifically awesome video. I have to say that I love John Waite and I love this song, but the video itself is pure...something. But it makes a point...

(Okay, I just watched the whole thing. Wow. And can someone please explain who the person is who shows up for two seconds at 3:27 and isn't in the video at all the rest of the time? A "dancer" who got fired, maybe?)

My point with that video is that some things are so totally, completely, thoroughly identifiable as coming from a certain era that there's no mistaking them for anything else.

This had everything that I identify as 1980's rock in it...The checkerboard (which shouldn't be used by anybody other than Cheap Trick since they used it way before 1980, but that's another story), leather, big-haired guitar players, sleazy chicks in bustiers, leather, nausea-inducing jerky camera movements, leather, random shots of "regular" people wishing for the rock and roll life, slow motion and freeze frame shots, big-screen rear projections, and leather.

(In an aside, I still have my leather pants from that era. However, I tried them on a couple of years ago and they really didn't fit the same way. My kids made me promise never to wear them in public.)

Now...When we look at this stuck-in-one-era phenomena as it relates to cakes, we will see that we cake decorators suffer from the same trend malaise. When you see a wedding cake from the 1950's, you know that it was from the 1950's. Same for the fountain and staircase cakes that the 1970's produced.

Not every era has a specific look to it, though. If I had to decide, I'd say that the cakes of the 1980's were probably the big flower-covered extravaganzas, but I don't immediately think of that year when I see one.

What's happening now is that trends spread so fast with the internet, they burn out faster. Instead of having one decorating style hang around for 5 or 6 years we get it for 1 or 2.

I guess this might make it more difficult to date certain styles of wedding cakes, but not always. In twenty years we'll all be looking at wedding photos of cakes with one big flower on the side of a plain cake, and we'll all know right away that the wedding took place in the early 2010's. Although I do wish they would stick around longer, because I like making gumpaste peonies!

What style do you think will forever be identified with this time period? Is there a style of cake that you wish would go away because it's been overdone? And is leather involved with any of them? (Just checking to see if you're paying attention.)

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA