Saturday 17 August 2019

One of the best legacies from 1990s fashion has been grunge

Tartan shirts, slip dresses and supermodels: Weekend's executive lifestyle editor looks at the biggest trends of 1997 - and how the 1990s are back in fashion today

Jennifer Aniston with the 'Rachel' haircut
Jennifer Aniston with the 'Rachel' haircut

Barbara Power

Animal print, now there's a fashion survivor. Tiger prints along with zebra and crocodile prowled the pages of the first fashion column in Weekend magazine and, today, the ubiquitous animal print has proved its longevity. Park those Bet Lynch/Coronation Street hang-ups; the truth is the couture catwalks go wild for it, and cat prints have remained a perennial classic over the last 20 years because it is considered by some as a handy neutral. Styled correctly, leopard print can be a fashion lover's best friend. Just ask Heidi Klum, who eulogised warm caramel-toned leopard prints for her debut 'affordable' collection for Lidl this season.

So, since 1997, how many of the trends we rocked back then have survived, and why? At its core, the international fashion industry is cyclical so everything eventually comes back, but some things earn their place in our wardrobe affections and others are just plain pretenders... like the conical bra tops that had a certain traction after Jean Paul Gaultier designed them for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour. Thankfully, we tired of their exhibitionism, but the same cannot be said of the high-top sneaker or indeed the platform sneaker, which have had staying power. Ditto the crop top, which has been a supreme survivor and considering our fixation with gym bods, they are destined to remain. Cindy Crawford wore them with panache back in 1997. Now her teenage daughter, Kaia Gerber, the new model du jour has been spotted in them, and when Kendall Jenner celebrated her 22nd birthday last weekend, she didn't turn to couture - it was a crop top and slashed jeans.

Sexy touches from our 1997 wardrobes have survived, like short slip dresses and lace-trimmed dresses that could double as nighties. Another trend to drive through the decades with ease is sheer black, a wardrobe staple the Kardashians could hardly survive without.

Undoubtedly one of the best legacies from 1990s fashion has been grunge, which had its origins in Seattle. Our hearts will be forever smitten with tartan with an attitude. Just look at the latest Zara collection, whose bejewelled tartan shirts are affordable and covetable.

We've been judicious about what parts of 1997 trends we want to reprise. It's a yes to velvet chokers but no to matching them with their 1997 twin, the scooped cami. Double denim continues to intrigue - but why, I ask? Given a chance, lots of women would love to return to their 'Rachel' haircut of the '90s because Jennifer Aniston (pictured) looks so darn good in it in the endless reruns of Friends. By the time Weekend came along in 1997, Ross was dating Emily and we had their almost- wedding in London.

The '90s gave us the Baywatch one-piece red swimsuit. Mac gave us the Viva Glam lippie; Gwen Stefani made us fall in love with cargo pants, and we were introduced to Carrie Bradshaw with her ever-evolving wardrobe and collection of Manolos.

When Titian-haired model Sonia Reynolds graced the pages of the first-ever fashion spread in Weekend magazine, she was a vision in a three-piece voile outfit. Sadly, three of the four stores that stocked the Steilmann outfit are no more - Roches followed by Clerys and Boyers, on Dublin's North Earl Street have all disappeared from our retail landscape and the only survivor is Arnotts.

Sonia herself morphed from fashion model to mogul, setting up her own fashion brand, Stable, with fellow former model Francie Duff. These days they champion beautiful Irish linen and wool from their shop in Dublin's Westbury Mall.

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