The early 1990s saw a continuation of late 1980s fashion, primarily model as muse. Supermodels dominated the beginning of the decade, when popular beauties such as Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista ‘wouldn’t get out of bed for less then $10,000’ starred in every major fashion campaign. Kate Moss, who often modeled for Calvin Klein, sparked controversy in a silver sheer slip dress with her very thin, waif-like figure coining a new term; heroin chic. Iconic designer Gianni Versace celebrated the female figure in tube dresses featuring body conscious cuts, luxury fabrics, baroque prints often garishly loud and brilliant colors, even touches of bondage inspired metal hardware such as grommets and safety pins.
The Seattle Sound exploded into mainstream fashion. Embracing a darker tone in both sound and vision with muted palates and worn textiles, the so called Grunge style departed sharply from 1980s excess. Staples included: winter thermal underwear as pants, work wear and the ubiquitous flannel shirt. In Marc Jacobs (now infamous) 1993 ‘‘Grunge’‘ collection for Perry Ellis, which ultimately got him fired from the line, models paraded down the catwalk in ‘bed head’ and knit beanies, Doc Martin lace up boots, flannel, knitwear and granny dresses as seen donned by bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.
Hip Hop fashion mirrored its music and lifestyle also. In it’s infancy in underground African American urban culture, Hip Hop eventually crossed barriers into popular culture full force during the decade. High energy self start up labels like Fubu and Karl Kani used high profile rap artists like Tupac Shakur and Shawn Combs as spokespersons and models for their lines. The clothing label Cross Colours bold in both color and social outreach, were emblazoned with messages of empowerment and community. Over sized everything was the signature silhouette, sports team paraphernalia, denim, bomber jackets, track suits, Timberland boots, ‘Bill Cosby’ Coogi sweaters, and overalls were the preferred look. Gender neutral silhouettes for both females and males were notable of the genre aesthetic.
Gothic fashion in the 1990s, fueled by films like the The Crow, The Craft and a burgeoning club scene, found an incredible popularity. Goths made their way into the mall and into the sunlight, via popular suburban boutiques like ‘Hot Topic’, wearing layers of black-on-black, ripped tights, crosses, fishnets, latex and fetish wear including PVC and vinyl clothing, crushed velvet and black lace. Even the goth scene itself splintered off into many interesting subsets: Cyber Goth, Lolita, Rockabilly, and Traditional. The wildly outrageous ‘club kid’ party scene, who exhibited hugely creative and sometimes grotesque outfits. Drugs and nightlife mingled into pop fashion culture, faux fur, neon colors and monster platforms further pushed the envelope of conservative fashion.
In the mid-1990s, British pop bands Blur, The Stone Roses and Oasis spearheaded a revival of 1960s and 1970s mod culture, including Mod haircuts, aviator sunglasses, stovepipe pants, green parkas Harrington jackets, velvet sport coats, striped shirts, polo shirts, and Union Jack motifs exemplified by the dress worn by band member Geri Halliwell from The Spice Girls.
Due to renewed renewed mainstream interest in swing and jump blues music, swing dancing films like Swingers Swing Kids and The Mambo Kings resulted in a huge 1940s style revival, and continued the cultural trend for entertainment to influence fashion. ‘Elaine Benes’ character on ‘Seinfeld’ sported 1940s inspired wide shouldered blazers and rayon floral dresses. Dapper menswear reminiscent of true vintage style, gabardine pleated trousers and rayon shirts enjoyed a moment in both the Swing/Rockabilly crowds and mainstream fashion.
Written by carlaandcarla