COOKE COLUMN: Recycling decades of fashion continue with the '90s
In the early part of the 21st century, certain styles and music from the 1980s began to reappear on runways and on the street. Ten years on and well into the second decade, there begins to be a gradual progression toward the styles of the 1990s.
Progressing from the beginning of the decade to the turn of the millennium, the '90s were full of seminal collections from what are now household names (Marc Jacobs comes to mind). And styles ranged from the multiprint madness of Gianni Versace to the ultra-sexy glamour of Tom Ford to the super minimalism of Jil Sander and Calvin Klein.
Now, from the runways and into the stores, the '90s are back in style. This time around, it's not the grunge styles or overindulgence in Drakkar Noir, but a sleek and sophisticated reinterpretation of styles that may find themselves added to a list of classics.
Where prints and fashion are concerned, Versace is king. In the early '90s, Gianni Versace bestowed an extensive catalog of wild prints on the world.
His sister, Donatella, continued in that tradition after the designer's death. But as styles changed, the collections became tamer and focused more on silhouettes and colors.
The pendulum, however, is swinging back the other way. For fall, Versace showed wild prints layered with more wild prints for both men and women.
The trend also spilled over into other designers' collections such as Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, as well as designers less known for their prints, such as Peter Som, Billy Reid and Rag & Bone.
Both Billy Reid and Rag & Bone are available locally. Billy Reid has a store at 150 King St. while Rag & Bone can be found at Hampden Clothing (357 King St.).
The middle part of the decade saw brands such as Calvin Klein and Jil Sander showing collections that had little or no ornamentation. Something like a simple little black dress never goes out of style, but now wearing that simple dress with no jewelry and simple, natural makeup looks fresh and on trend.
The key to keeping this look modern and not dated is to look at new proportions.
A simple neatly tailored shift will transition stylishly from work to weekend. Designers such as Victoria Beckham and Michael Kors as well as Calvin Klein (now designed by Francisco Costa) are creating a plethora of fresh, simple looks.
After several seasons of midrise, high-rise and even higher-rise waistlines on trousers and skirts, the fashion scale is tipping back to sexy. Tom Ford struck gold with his 1995 collection for Gucci that included plunging necklines and trousers so low they seemed to not have anything left to hold on to. Tom Ford for Gucci and Alexander McQueen's “Bumster” Pants (which purposefully exposed the upper portion of the wearer's backside) ushered in the era of lower is better.
Now, almost 20 years on, Tom Ford is back to designing women's wear (this time under his eponymous label), and hip-huggers, for lack of a better term, are sneaking back onto the racks of retailers everywhere from brands such as Seven for all Mankind, J Brand, Rachel Zoe and Altuzarra.
The decade of the supermodel is over, but its influence is far reaching and just now coming back to the forefront of fashion.
It doesn't take much, and six months from now, there may be a resurgence of other trends from that decade.
Keep a close eye out for flannels, torn jeans and other grunge signatures to pop up alongside sleeker trends such as a low-slung chain belt or those body-conscious looks that just aren't quite in style right now.
Seth McCormick Cooke is a stylist and freelance writer based in Charleston. Reach him at SethMcCormick@me.com.