Q1. Based on the readings, identify four contrasts or contradictions in fashion during the 1990s.
- Please refer to PDF files
Q2. Post a comparison from menswear or from womenswear. Find a look from the ‘90s and its “equivalent” from the ‘70s. Consider the following:
• Is it the same? Was it modified?
• Has it been combined with “non-1970s” elements?
• How does the 1990s’ revival of 1970s compare with the actual fashion of that decade (1970s)?
Q3. How did the subcultures in the 1990s influence both mainstream and designer fashion within the decade? Be sure to incorporate examples of subcultures and mainstream and designer fashion. If you wish to incorporate any other 1990s subcultures not discussed here, please feel free to introduce them.
The diversity and eclecticism seen in mainstream fashion, and evidenced in film and television, were also present at the designer level. Individual designers, working in international fashion centers, offered a wide variety of options.
Important designers of the decade explored many different aesthetics. Although his career began in the late 1970s, Gianni Versace showed his first couture collection in 1989. His aesthetic was glamorous and showy with lots of eye catching embellishments. Actress Elizabeth Hurley wore this daring Versace dress to a movie premiere in 1994 and it received enormous amounts of publicity. Identified with the colorful gay aesthetic of the South Beach neighborhood of Miami, Versace’s menwear was body conscious and showy such as these silk shirts. The black and white outfit is an example of the Greek key motif, a design Versace used to often. Hear it’s rendered oversized on one leg of extremely tight fitting black and white denim pants. The world of influence for Gianni Versace and as continued by Donatella Versace included rock and roll, Asian traditions, Hollywood icons, the Byzantine Empire, Greek and Roman mosaics. This outfit from 1991 combines Warhol-esque images of pop culture icons Marilyn Monroe and James Dean further embellished with decorative beading and sequins. Karl Lagerfeld continued to keep Chanel in the limelight with a reworking of classic Chanel iconography. Here a version of the classic cardigan suit combines denim and bright pink tweed and a Chanel moon boot from the mid 90s shows lots of signature elements. When Miuccia Prada took over the family business she revamped their image and expanded from accessories into fashion introducing ready to wear for women in 1989 and for men in 1993 Product became known for quirky looks often challenging existing standards with retro influences and color combinations that were considered odd or almost ugly. These outfits from spring summer 1996 reflect the revival of 1970s style. Rei Kawakubo’s Commes des Garcons spring 1997 collection called body meets dress dress meets body also challenged norms. Padded garments produced unexpected shapes Kawakubo pursued her own artistic priorities rather than adhering to conventions of beauty. Belgian designer Martin Margiela often incorporated recycled components into his design. His garments referred to the underlying concepts of fashion as in this ensemble from Spring/Summer 1997 which presents the process rather than a finished garment. So it’s a deconstructed view of design. Ann Demeulemeester also from Belgium rearranged familiar elements such as these two looks from 1996 with unexpected sleeve and torso treatments but fine tailored finishing. Helmut Lang designed clothes paired down to an extreme. He rarely used patterned fabric often showing black white and gray in nineteen ninety eight instead of an in-person presentation Lang showed his collection on the Internet. He was one of the first designers to embrace the new technology. Jill Sanders work also embraced a minimalist aesthetic as well as unexpected construction techniques and effects such as the purposefully wrinkled dress seen here. As seen in both his men’s wear and women’s wear collections and his many diffusion lines. Calvin Klein offered a more commercial version of minimalism. New names in fashion working at established houses added to the idea of fashion as spectacle. In 1995 John Galliano was hired by Givenchy after one year there he went to Dior. And while at Dior he produced extravagant clothes that mixed and matched inspiration from history international cultures from Art Nouveau to Alice in Wonderland. Galliano’s replacement at Givenchy was Alexander McQueen who had his own label and was only four years out of design school. This is a look from his 1995 Highland Rape collection which was the designer’s commentary on the historic abuse of Scotland by the British McQueen was one of the pioneers of the truly outrageous runway presentation for this presentation. The catwalk was strewn with Moss. He showed his spring 1997 collection on a runway flooded with water. McQueen also designed menswear for full ninety six his ready to wear from the Dante collection was shown in a candlelit church in the historic spittle fields neighborhood of London. Another interesting new name was Hussein Chalayan who created a corset like top out of four wood pieces joined by metal bolts and a dress that folded into an airmail envelope. By nineteen ninety nine the year of this design airmail was the form of communication that was quickly becoming a relic of the past.
Versace runway show, Fall 1992 ready-to-wear
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