Bold, brash and anti-establishment – I’m talking about fashion in the 90’s and the ladies who reluctantly made it happen!
During the iconic 1990’s, as a kid growing up in suburban Mumbai, I always knew that somewhere in the future, fashion was waiting for me.
Elusive and very reluctantly… the fashion beast was about to strike. Some day.
And one day, it did. Leapt out at me from MTV- big, bold, brash and grungy- my idols from MTV told me what not to do and how to not do it well. Right from 1990, anti-establishment and angst was all that mattered to me- and flannel. Lots and lots of flannel.
Bands like Pearl Jam and The Stone Temple Pilots wrote the rules for me and saw me through my early years of anti-fashion- and that, naturally, led to all I believe in fashion and trend.
See, I was never really a trendy girl; not then nor now. But I believe in self-expression and individualism…something that will never go out of style.
For me, the 90’s lay a rock-solid foundation in fashion. I haven’t really looked ahead since then.
This little scribble is a dedication to the bad girls of the 1990’ s who hit out hard at stereotypes and bent the rules of lady-like dressing. Like all fashion cycles, the 90’s are back- some looks I love and some not so much. It’s time the ladies behind these trends got a shout out!
Demi Moore and the Pixie.
The early 90’s saw a much-awaited move away from the big blonde blow-out and spangled 80’s diva look. Scrubbed clean and athletic, Demi Moore stole hearts and smashed all sassy stereotypes with her minimalistic look in Ghost. Her adorable Pixie haircut was copied by millions, inspiring even kids in far flung suburbs of Mumbai (me!) to shed long tresses for the iconic boy-haircut with long brow-grazing fringe.
I strongly believe that she made mannish dressing sexy. The bold striped boyfriend shirts and basic melange gym t-shirts – with just a glimmer of delicate drop earrings- is a look that’s still as sexy as it is classic.
Demi’s look in Ghost exuded a quiet confidence using sparse androgynous pieces of clothing. A bold step to take at a time when excess and bling was everything.
For a quick peek at ‘Molly’ from Ghost..
The Cuteness that was Winona
The early 90’s, also marked as Generation X, was a great time. An era where MTV ruled and slacking off on your parents’ couch wasn’t taboo- in fact it was generously encouraged. Movies like 1994’s Reality Bites neatly encompasses those slacker years- and surely sparked off more fashion trends than it intended to.
Winona Ryder with her inclination towards boyfriend jeans and worn out t-shirt, all cherry red lipped and scruffy haired, came as a breath of fresh air.
Thrift shop floaty dresses and vintage Wayfarers with Doc Martins became huge fashion must-haves and, finally, it was ok to be a girly-tomboy.
A young and restless Johnny Depp in tow only made every girl of the 90’s want to be Winona Forever! (God, I miss the 90s!!)
Some of Winona Ryder’s adorable grunge girl looks can be seen here ..
Kate Moss & the Great British Invasion
Called a waif and a rebel, Kate Moss was the ubiquitous size zero supermodel and the rightful owner of the slip dress ! She perfected the scraped back pony and no-make-up look to perfection.
Infamous for the Heroin-Chic look that plagued the 1990’s, Kate’s party lifestyle and size zero was often criticised. It is undeniable that despite the bad press, Kate had an easy but edgy fashion sense. She frequently threw on Adidas trainers with slinky skirts and athletic jackets, a sport ‘n’ street inspired look that is still a huge favourite today.
The face of 90’s Glastonbury, Kate Moss is without doubt, the pioneer of ‘Festival Dressing’- a trend that knows no season or boundaries today.
Hell yes, it’s Courtney!
Remember, this was a time when women were fighting for a spot at the grungy mosh-pit that was essentially 90’s fashion. Rebellious and unapologetic, Courtney Love, wife of late Kurt Cobain and frontrunner of Alternative rock band Hole, was the original rock ‘n’ roll wild-child of the Naughty Nineties.
With a love for vintage, Courtney miss-matched fragile baby-doll dresses with knee high socks and prim Mary-Janes. She often borrowed flannel shirts from Kurt Cobain, and threw it into her otherwise girly look.
Ripped, feminine, decadent and raw, Love’s outrageous on-stage garb bragged of her liberated lifestyle and the music she represented. Messy haired, complete with diamond tiara, Courtney was a bolt of brashness in the 90s.
She was rarely seen without her trademark guitar and baby-doll dress, barely holding herself together in laddered stockings and regulation boots.
Love her or loath her, Courtney Love stole more hearts than most and is still a revered style icon of essential 90’s girl-grunge.
As grunge gave way to girl power, the mid to late nineties saw an amalgamation of funk and ragga inspired fashion and music. It was around then that Ska-punk band No Doubt topped the charts with their album Tragic Kingdom and frontwoman Gwen Stefani took the fashion world by storm.
Washboard abs, punk-rocker pants, tank top and her signature bindi-ed uniform was the essential skater / dancehall uniform of the Nineties.
She did candy-colured mermaid hair with a heavy dose of pouty punk red lips with Californian cool.
Gwen claimed that she created her own onstage looks as she was naïve when it came to fashion. Be as it may, street fashion got a new edge and even today, Gwen Stefani is considered more than Just a Girl who started the Skater-girl trend.
The angst ridden 1990’s, rich in counter-culture and at the cusp of the techy millennium, built a rock-hard foundation of trends so strong that they continue to inspire indie dressing.
Images / videos sourced from