Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is the 1990s now vintage?

Well as Sydney Morning Herald Fashion Editor Kellie Hush points out, London department store Selfridges certainly seems to think so. Now that 1990 is twenty-years ago, some would say that technically it can be called "vintage". A quick stroll around a Sydney shopping mall and one can't help notice the frayed denim, opaque stockings, small print floral dresses and even Doc Martens. Stylist Liz Goldwyn and burlesque star Dita Von Teese recently stepped out, respectively, in a vintage Versace reminiscent of Liz Hurley's famous 1994 safety-pin dress and a 2010 Jean Paul Gaultier lingerie as outerwear frock that is very 1990s. So it looks like the decade is in, right?

Kellie Hush in "Grunge reborn as 90s hit vintage status" says:
It was only a matter of time before the phrase "that's so 1990s" entered the fashion lexicon. But while '80s style seems easy to pin down - bubble skirts, big hair, power dressing, lycra and neon - the following decade is more elusive.
Unless you're the London department store Selfridges, that is. It has declared 2010 as the year we can officially declare '90s fashion "vintage". So confident is Selfridge's about the decades retro appeal, it has opened a '90s vintage concept store filled with iconic pop-culture items, clothes and cosmetics.
So, what will we wear when an invitation to a '90s party drops into the inbox?

Now, I have no particular desire to return to 1990s fashion, and as it is, I've resisted much of the recent 1980's redux because I lived through that decade too and much of it is not worth repeating. What draws me to vintage more than anything else is the quality and beauty of the fabrics and the small details in construction which are missing from the mass sweat-shop produced clothing that has lived in most modern shops for the last thirty years. This applies even to some "designer" labels.

But I certainly have a sense of nostalgia about the '90s because it was the time of my teenage years, where I transitioned into the adult I am now. And it was this sense of nostalgia which prompted me to throw a '90s themed party for my 30th in 2008. Some people felt like it was too close, and yet others were like "but what was the 1990s all about?" (I responded with grunge, Britpop, rave culture ... need I go on), but most of my friends got it and really embraced the theme.

I was Sporty Spice, and there was Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld, Ab Fab, Uma in Pulp Fiction, Cher from Clueless, ravers, grunge rockers and even poor Monica Seles with a knife in her back. My betrothed was Hando aka Russell Crowe from Romper Stomper (he doesn't share the sentiments of the character in any way shape or form, but he does look good in a pair of tight stonewashed jeans) and the two of us compiled almost twenty hours of 90s music to keep us dancing all night long.

So I reckon the teens and 20-somethings can go for it with their Docs and ripped jeans, but I'm going to stick by the old adage that if you've lived through it once, you really shouldn't dress head to toe in that decade again. Not unless you want someone to think that you are still wearing exactly the same wardrobe.

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