’s Essay, Research Paper
Parisians do not have nightmares about being run over, rushed to hospital and caught out wearing holey grey knickers. It couldn’t happen. Firstly, parisians never leave the house in anything than a perfect state of attire. Secondly, they do not possess holey grey knickers. Their reasoning? Your wear grey kinckers, your man has an affair. French Polish, Vogue May 1998 Five women who won the genetic lottery appeared on Vogue’s first cover of 1990. Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Cristie Turlinton and Cindy Crawford all smiled in Giorgio di Sant’Angelo stretch faded jeans and invisible makeup. The super models had surprised movie star celebrity. They blasted after for their looks, admired for their power and revered in the ‘greed is good’ 1980s for refusing to get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars a day. The 1990s became the decade of the mixed message. In the space of ten years, the power shoulder was exterminated, accessorize escalated, the classic cardigan hit the office, big hair was cut, mat glamour disappeared, slip dresses came out of the closet, and just when super models where hitting their stride, their fascination expired. Baby-boomers had reached a point where laugher lines and middle age where staring them in the face. Vogue talked about ‘Real Life Fashion’, with older role models arriving. Isabella Rossellini signed another contract with Lancome at the age of 39. Lauren Hutton, who had joined the Eileen Ford agency in 1966, was by October 1991 almost 48 years old and working with photographer Stephen Meisel. ‘One of the nicest things about Stephen is the way he encouraged me to be my age. He want me to look pert, or this or that he wanted me to look as I felt at the time, which of course means I can feel 15 one day and 150 another – and of course look it!’. As fashion became fixated with the here and now, there where two major fashion flash backs. Just as the 1970s had resurrected the 1920s and 1930s, so the 1990s reinvigorated the 1960s and 1970s with flairs (later called bootlegs) and platform shoes. In spring 1990 stretch leggings replaced tailored trousers, with Pucci print versions. The must – have of the moment. By 1992 the power suit had been given the last rites and in July of that year Vogue sounded the death knell when it said, ‘RIP the Short Skirt’. What seemed impossibility at the end of the 1980s was now set in stone: ‘In Britain, the verdict is in on the long skirt. We like it.’ By August the long skirt had gone global: ‘Autumn 1992 is the season of the quite revaluation. By unanimous international vote, long skirts and trousers are already faits accomplis. The change starts with a fix idea of elegant, elongated line from which every thing else flows’. The 1990s fashion designer no longer created clothes with complimenrty cosmetics and scent, customers wanted to buy into a lifestyle. Calvin klein, whose perfumes-Obsession in 1984 and Eternity in 1987- had captured the mood of the moment was ready to ‘Escape’. Interviewed in his East Hampton retreats with his wife Kelly in November in 1991, he said: ‘There’s going to be a big change in the 90s and it’s only just the beginning. The 80s where a very conservative period, sexually and in so many ways. It’s less about flash and more about people in the streets, the environment. People are becoming more real.’ In September 1994 Ralph Lauren, Photographed at his 250 – acreesate in Bedford, New York, became past master of retail seduction: ‘I like faded and old, you know, I like shabby. Its not a mania for Englishness it’s a matter of integrity.’ British Vogue celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in June 1991, with Linda Evangelist, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford on the front cover. In December the cover girl was Diana, Princess of Wales, Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier and sporting a new, short haircut, courtesy of Sam McKnight. She wore a plain black sweater, her chin resting on her hands. The royal divorce meant that the former HRH was free to dress as she pleased. Protocol no longer mattered. Valentino, Chanel, Lacroix and Versace were all sported as the newly single princess started to show the hallmarks of someone starting afresh: lower necklines, shorter skirts and – now that was no longer concerned about towering over her husband – higher heels. London was one of the brinks of a fashion renaissance not seen since the 1960s. Alexander Mc Queen graduated from Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design in 1992 and his work appeared for the first time in British Vogue in November of that year, worn by Vogue stylist Isabella Blow.
McQueen’s opening gambit – bumster trousers – divided the press. Although fans said they were the best thing since sliced bread, the critics pointed out that bubsters – low-slung trousers which left little to the imagination, were par for the course on building sites. The following year, grunge a sub-culture which started in Seattle, USA – spawned a new kind of fashion shoot and a different way of possessing. Kate Moss captured the look of Vogue’s first grunge shoot in 1993, photographed in a sparse flat with a suitably vacant expression. When Elizabeth Hurley arrived at the premiere of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), her curves held in place by Versace’s silk crepe and s series of safety pins, notoriety and a Estee Lauder contract followed. In 1998 the memory had transcended into fashion history: ‘Her arrival in “that” Versace dress had the same kind of significance in tabloid folklore that the Nativity does to Christians: the moment at which a star is born.’
Vogue’s Christmas 1993 issue featured two new models and paved the way for modern aristocratic muse: Honor Fraser, photographed at the family seat in Inverness – shire, and Stella Tennant, in a dilapidated part of Spitafields, east London, sporting a ring ring through her nose. However, Cindy Crawford faced a far more pressing dilemma than which designer to wear: she was getting older. With a fashion consensus that was saying young, gauche and skinny, Cindy Crawford was curvy, womanly and 30. ‘ She recently turned down the idea foe a Cindy doll, complete with mole which would have made her a tune of money,’ reported Vogue.
‘ I’d get too much shit for doing that. In my mind, l kept seeing the promotional picture of me holding a doll dressed wearing the same clothes l was wearing.’ That picture would speak a thousand words and they’re a not a thousand words l want spoken.’ In 1990 Marc Bohan, ex-Dior designer, was asked to take over at Norman Hartell in London. Then in November 1995, John Galliano made history as the first British designer to be appointed head of French couture house when he went to Givenchy. Two years later he was head-hunted by Dior and presented his first collection in January 1997. It was a pivotal moment for Paris couture and the fulfillment of a delicious dream for Galliano. When Gianfranco Ferre left a vacant space at Christian Dior, musical chairs commenced: Galliano went to Dior, Alexander McQueen went to Givenchy and Stella McCartney took over at Chloe. Then the Americans landed: Michael Kors was appointed at Celine and Narciso Rodriquez – a virtual unknown until he designed Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s wedding dress in 1996 – took over the helm at Loewe. Marc Jacobs moved to Louis Vuitton and Alber Elbaz, a protege of Geoffrey Beene, went to Guy Laroche and later to Yves Saint Laurent, overseeing the ready-to-wear collection while the maestro concentrated on couture. Just as the four fashion capitals achieved the equal footing, they were joined by a fifth: in Belgium, Dires Van Noten, Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester comprised a new brand of fashion intelligentsia, which was on a par with the Japanese. Vogue took a wry look at the breed: ‘While still at kindergarten in Antwerp, the Belgium designer had a strong vocational calling. But ten years and three Patti Smith albums later, she discovered that you don’t have to be a Carmelite nun to wear groovy black clothes. Designers, too, can credibly go the Goth route.’ Designer’s logos no longer shouted conspicuous consumption, but whispered subliminal messages. The Gucci snaffle, the Hermes bag, the small but perfectly formed Prada triangle in the silver and black were all 1990s’ symbols for the chic and hip, understood only by those who knew the precise code. Martin Margiela headed Hermes; Tom Ford gave Gucci a new lease of life. Even though the designers were high profile, it was the brand and not the individual that was gaining momentum. As the millenium drew closer, vogue traced the disappearance of the Chanel button and the death of the personal trainer. The ‘in’ accessory was a more accessible way of giving potential customers a piece of the action. During the 1990s, style switched seasonally, from Prada’s nylon bag to Fendi’s baguette. Eventually, the designer bag wasn’t held in the hand but, instead, hugged the body. London produced designers who were being taken very seriously. Hussein Chalayan, who veered more towards fine art than fashion, was one of the few British designers to focus on minimalism, designing cashmere for TSE in New York and dressing Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork: ‘Fashion is so transient now. I’m trying to give my work constant development – both conceptually and aesthetically. Sex has always sold fashion, and I’m just tired of it. The sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales was marked with a tribute by Vogue’s Anna Harvey in October 1997: ‘It is said she was more beautiful in the flesh. Once, on a visit to Vogue, the art department, who’d been quite cynical about her, were agog. She had sparkle. It was simply magnetic and, in the end, it transcended her clothes.’ The fashion became a new form of performance art. Alexander McQueen was becoming just as famous for theatrics as his avant-garde attitude to cutting. ‘Alexander said he wanted the paint guns to look like snakes rearing up to attack,’ Vogue reported oh his show that simulated urban carnage with burning cars. ‘When people started rioting to get in, I remember running backstage and thinking, “Well, Alexander’s famous now.”‘ Author Helen Fielding, alias Bridget Jones, scored a double whammy when she tapped into one of the most important social changes of the century and added ’singleton’ and ’smug marrieds’ into the general vocabulary. ‘The office for National Statistics predicts that by the Year 2000, a quarter of all women will be single.’ For the woman with an escalating disposable income and a grasp on her emotions, retail therapy was a soother of senses; a tangible form of spiritual uplift, a new kind of designer deliverance. At the first collection after the death of her brother Gianni in 1997, Donatella talked about diluting the full-on Versace glamour and concentrating on more refined designs: ‘That’s what people really wear. I want to make clothes that can be worn all the time but are still extraordinary.’ Women began searching for something more meaningful then designer labels and desirable logo: antique clothes with a sense of history. Vogue wrote, ‘As we head towards 200, fashion is travelling back in time to the fin de siecle, when femininity held sway and the emphasis was on the soft sensuality.’ In 1999 Vogue focused on ‘Fashion’s New Medicis’ – designers who were moving into the art world. When Gucci sponsored the exhibition ‘The Work of Charles and Ray Eames’ at London’s Design Museum in 1998-9, the museum’s director said: ‘Let’s face it, more people have heard of Gucci than the Eameses.’ Discussing his collaboration with artist Jenny Holzer, Helmut Lang told Vogue that he wanted to develop a perfume that ‘would smell of the human body – like clothes that had been worn but were still fresh’.