Yes, the ’90s are back in a big way, and being the nostalgic group that we are, we couldn’t be happier about it. To truly appreciate today’s trend, we suggest looking back on its origins. Join us on our trip down memory lane as we recount the most memorable fashion moments of the 1990s.
The Supers (1990)
When the ’90s began, the “supermodel” was born. Ladies like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista—who famously said that she didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day—ruled the runways and captivated the world with their otherworldly good looks. The iconic photographs that Peter Lindbergh shot of the supers in the early ’90s are still widely used as editorial inspiration, and George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” video, which features many of the women, is, in our humble opinion, still one of the greatest music videos ever made.
Madonna’s Cone Bra (1990)
Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990)
Quirky TV Sweethearts (1991)
A group of offbeat fashion icons emerged in the early ’90s, giving girls everywhere the confidence to be themselves and wear whatever they want. Blossom Russo will forever be remembered for her hats, Clarissa Darling’s mixed prints and oversize Keith Haring t-shirts are the stuff of legends, and Kelly Kapowski could pull off a crop top like no other. Other early ’90s television style stars we remember fondly are Kelly Bundy ofMarried With Children and resident rich girl Lisa Turtle of Saved by the Bell.
Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain (1991)
The king and queen of Seattle grunge, Kurt and Courtney are arguably the most influential couple in 1990s fashion. The Hole frontwoman was known for her torn, sheer slips, dark makeup, and babydoll dresses, and is credited for popularizing the “kinderwhore” look that had a moment in the early ’90s. Similarly, the Nirvana singer arguably started the entire grunge trend, with his mismatched, oversized outfits and shaggy mop of hair. We can’t think of anyone in history who could make a flannel look so good, and with so little effort.
Winona Ryder: Style Icon (1991)
Ryder was the ultimate ’90s “It” Girl. In the early part of the decade, she scored a number of roles in cult-classic films, including Edward Scissorhandsand Reality Bites, and her tomboyish style quickly caught the public’s attention. Her raven pixie cut and all-black red-carpet ensembles became her signatures. Plus, it didn’t hurt that she had Johnny Depp on her arm for a number of years. Say it with us: Winona forever.
The Fresh Prince Effect (1992)
Kate Moss for Calvin Klein (1992)
Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis Grunge Collection (1992)
In a career-defining moment, Jacobs, who was then the creative director at Perry Ellis, showed a grunge-inspired collection for spring/summer 1993 that promptly got him fired. The layered plaids, cashmere thermals, beanies, and Doc Martens that he sent down the runway were the staples of his generation, and they all still resonate today. If you’ve never seen the show in full (and we really think you should), you can watch it right here.
Drew Barrymore: Style Icon (1993)
“The Rachel” Haircut (1994)
On the early seasons of Friends, Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green became famous for her layered, choppy haircut, created by stylist Chris McMillan. It remains one of the most iconic hairstyles of all time, and was the most requested celebrity cut of the ’90s.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt’s Red Carpet Reign (1994)
The Spice Girls (1995)
Gwen Stefani: Style Icon (1995)
Tom Ford’s Gucci Revival (1995)
Empire Records (1995)
Liv Tyler was the ultimate ’90s babe—who could forget her role, alongside Alicia Silverstone, in the ’93 video for Aerosmith’s “Crazy”?—and her look as Corey in this classic flick made her an instant icon. The cropped fuzzy sweater, plaid schoolgirl skirt, and lace-up combat boots that she made famous are now all wardrobe classics, and were even back on the runways last season.
Gianni Versace’s Final Couture Show (1997)
Sex and the City (1998)
Two words: Carrie Bradshaw. We can’t even begin to count how many trends that Sarah Jessica Parker’s character singlehandedly started, but many of the world’s most well-known fashion brands (we’re looking at you, Manolo Blahnik) owe her quite a bit of thanks.