Nineties Nostalgia

The signs have been brewing, but the return of Versus, with Christopher Kane’s homage to vintage Versace, brought the point home: the nineties are back. We admit those T-shirts emblazoned with Bruce Weber’s campaigns from the same period are to-die-for, but having experienced the awkward decade firsthand, we can’t help but be somewhat ambiguous of its return. Mopey attitudes, synthetic fabrics and chunky footwear are just some of the missteps we’d like to forget, but apparently they’re providing endless creative fodder for some of our runway faves. If you were confused by Alexander Wang’s pinstriped bustiers and cutaway tails, we refer you to En Vogue’s 1992’s Free Your Mind. Provocative to the point of perversion, he sent out an army of Funky Divas in proportions last seen in an MC Hammer video—replete with aggressive footwear and arm warmers. Proenza Schouler closed their show with a string of baby dolls, sheer thigh-highs, clunky clogs (à la Lady Kier) and black cherry lipstick—like an unseen prom special of My So Called Life—and we have to admit, it was pretty fabulous.

Meanwhile, Raf Simons opened Jil Sander with a nod to an unlikely muse, Cher Horowitz (of Clueless fame), with her ubiquitous A-line tartan skirts. Of course it could just as easily have been a meditation on the legacy of minimalism, but we were mesmerized by the uncharacteristically cheeky nod. But perhaps the most poignant (so far) is Dolce & Gabbana’s ode to their own nineties heyday, revisiting some of their first classics: corsetry, mannish suiting, vixen dresses, leopard prints, visible underwear and lacy combos. Picture Madonna circa Erotica. Okay, maybe they never stopped showing those things, but it was a moving effort nevertheless.

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