Fashion loves a good throwback and these days it seems like everything is coming up ’90s. But although grunge had its modern day reinvention by way of model-off-duty uniforms, the latest crop of style makers are leaning toward the laid-back and spirited looks of TV style icons like Lisa Bonet, who truly pioneered early ’90s style.
Just as ’90s fashion saw the rise of Yohji Yomamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier and Commes Des Garçons, so too did legions of women witness Lisa Bonet’s status as a style icon come full force. Her mix of vintage dresses, Marithé François Girbaud baggy pants (with matching bolero, of course), heavily fringed motorcycle jackets and signature round glasses truly embodied the movement. Now, on the heels of the resurgence of the plaid shirt as a wardrobe staple, the reinvention of grunge as a harder and edgier style (a la Balmain) and the laid-back vibe of Alexander Wang with his popular T line, street style has embraced a funkier, brighter spin on the decade.
A veritable mishmash of styles that hark back to the days of characters from shows like The Cosby Show, Living Single, A Different World and Fresh Prince of Bel Air are popping up everywhere from booted American Idol contestants to Bonet’s own icon-in-the-making daughter, Zoe Kravitz. On one end of the spectrum, Willow Smith, with her braided hair and neon printed outfits, is leading the pack and ushering new sounds and fans along the way. On the other end, Lauren Hill, a ’90s icon in her own right, made her comeback at the Alexander Wang after party this season, marking a true return of the decade’s bohemian presence.
Dreadlocks mixed with long, knit dresses and combat boots are street style staples of late, while the resurgence of neon colors, stripes and headgear proves that fashion is having one more go at the inspirational decade. And while Vena Cava referenced the ’90s as a muse for its autumn/winter ’11 collection—and even published a ‘zine dedicated to friends’ ruminations on the era—other cultural movements also seem to be shifting in that direction. Beauty trends are leaning towards undone hair, IFC’s Portlandia has playfully proclaimed that “the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland” and the Sundance Channel recently picked up the entire series of My So Called Life—and not just as a memento of nostalgia. The ’90s are back in a big, Lisa Bonet kind of way.