Taking fashion cues from a decade of disparate styles
“Do you remember the first time?” Jarvis Cocker sang way back in 1994. More than twenty years later, the question remains pertinent. The 1990s—the decade that saw a snake-hipped, chunky-glasses-wearing Cocker become a sex symbol, the Spice Girls bring back the microdress, and Will Smith arrive as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air—are back. This year’s shows were full of throwbacks, from Saint Laurent’s slip dresses and Courtney Love’s crowns to Chloé’s Britpop trackie tops. On the high street, you’ll find beanies (very My So-Called Life) and mom jeans (high waist, slim ankle—think Beverly Hills 90210).
What is “Good 1990s?” Any revival involves sorting through the flotsam and jetsam of a decade to find the pieces that still look fresh today. And because there’s so much variation, there’s lots of room to get it wrong. Good 1990s right now means a bit of Britpop (trackie tops, androgyny, chokers), a smidge of R&B (those high-waisted jeans, bold color blocking) and a whole lot of grunge (slip dresses and cardigans). Less likely to come back? Blossom’s hats, Hammer pants, and overalls over turtlenecks.
A 1990s revival is tricky because it’s quite indistinct. The ’60s are marked by the miniskirt, the ’70s by flares, and the ’80s by shoulder pads. But ’90s style is diffuse, on a spectrum from Rachel in Friends to Courtney Love in Hole. In other words, it was eclectic, which may be another reason it appeals now, when a pick-and-mix approach to culture and fashion rules.
Pictured on our model Nandi, true vintage finds from Panache at Brighton Commons.