Looking back on the 1990s fashion wise, the decade is very distinctively split in half. More specifically, pre and post July 19th, 1995, the day the cultural and fashion phenomenon Clueless was released.
The Alicia Silverstone character, Cher Horowitz’s closet became every 90’s high school girl’s dream, but it was totally unexpected!
During pre-production on the film, director Amy Heckerling and costume designer Mona May visited high schools around the country to see what kids were really wearing. What they found was a grunge dystopia of Kurt Cobain and Gwen Stefani‘s making. A hell-hole of flannel shirts, loose fitting jeans and vans sneakers. Remnants of the Seattle music scene and Marc Jacobs’ 1992 Perry Ellis career-stalling grunge collection. Since this wasn’t at all what they wanted the characters in the film to look like, they brilliantly decided to construct a make believe Beverly Hills world within the real one. The wide-eyed students in the film would have a sixties and seventies inspired wardrobe, mixed in with classic pieces by hot designers like Azzedine Alaia and Calvin Klein.
The end result changed 90’s fashion completely and still resonates today, 20 years later. Take, for instance, Alexander Wang‘s Spring 2014 show that was completely Clueless inspired, and Australian born rapper Iggy Azalea paid hommage to the film in her video for her hit song Fancy last year.
We all remember the iconic Clueless outfits and fashion statements: Cher’s yellow plaid suit, her white Calvin Klein minidress, everyone’s argyle overload, Dionne’s crazy experimental hats, long shirts under sweaters, the girls coordinated black & white gym outfits and Cher’s signature black beret. Not to mention everything the costume-inclined Amber wore!
The film’s preppy fashion and upbeat characters saved us all from the dreary grunginess of our pre-Clueless 90’s lives.
The film-makers obviously had no idea the film would go on to be such a mega hit and still inspire us two decades after its release and we’re very thankful for that. If they had, they might have made different styling decisions.
Who is your favourite Clueless character? Do you still take style inspiration from the film?