updated 4 Mar 2014, 23:34
Login password
Thu, Feb 27, 2014
Urban, The Straits Times
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Back to the '90s
by Leslie Kay Lim

Fashion likes to mine the past for inspiration and you could not be blamed if you have been thinking you had somehow wandered back a couple of decades.

Trendy staples of the 1990s have been cropping up more than once or twice recently.

For instance, designer Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel dressed his models with statement-making gold and pearl chokers and sent them down the runway for spring/summer 2014. Metallic chokers, too, have showed up in recent collections by Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent Paris and Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.

Belly-baring cropped tops, memorably paired with miniskirts and platform shoes in the 1990s, have also been updated by designers such as Alexander Wang, Philip Lim and Jil Sander.

But it is not just decade-specific fashion items that are making waves again.

Brands that were ubiquitous in the 1990s - such as DKNY, Moschino, Versace, MCM and Boy London - are back in the limelight, riding the wave of nostalgia for that decade.

Big in the 1990s, Donna Karan's diffusion label, DKNY, has been producing limited-edition collections for Opening Ceremony, a New York-based multi-label boutique and the arbiter of cool.

The capsule collection, which is in its third season, re-issues designs from the brand's 1990s archives.

Now available in Singapore for the first time, these span designs from spring 1991 to fall 1998 and include denim jackets, pants, skirts, dresses, T-shirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, handbags, hats and sneakers. Prices range from $90 for a cap to $730 for a jacket and the items are available exclusively at the DKNY store at 03-12 Ion Orchard.

Italian label Moschino also took inspiration from its past for its 30th anniversary collection, out last fall and currently in stores. The signature block letters spelling out the brand name are back on belts and bags and just as splashy as they were 20 years ago.

The playful label is enjoying a revival with the appointment of American designer Jeremy Scott as creative director last year. The Los Angeles-based Scott was responsible for memorably kitschy designs such as teddy bear sneakers for sports brand Adidas and brings a similar, well-aligned sensibility to Moschino.

In addition to putting the gold brand logo on everything from caps to clothes, Scott created fun trompe l'oeil looks - slips on coats and dresses and bags shaped like jackets - for his pre-fall 2014 collection for the brand.

Celebrity gloss is also helping to burnish a shine on those brands of yesteryear.

Stylemakers include pop star Rihanna, known to favour chokers and cropped tops. She wore a vintage Chanel tweed mini suit - worn by supermodels in a 1994 ad shot by lensman Steven Meisel - in a TV appearance last month on Good Morning America.

Lady Gaga is a soulmate of the flamboyant 1990s favourite Versace. In a match made in heaven, the Italian label appointed the singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, its spring 2014 campaign model. She models jewellery and bags with medallions, a signature motif of the house, in its print ads.

For other popular 1990s brands like German label MCM and British label Boy London, look to South Korea for any recent resurgence in popularity.

MCM was known for its jeans in the 1990s and was bought by South Korean businesswoman Kim Sung-joo in 2005. Renaming the brand Mode Creation Munich from the previous Michael Cromer Munich, Kim transformed the brand into being known as a leather goods maker and its bags have been spotted on numerous K-pop stars.

Members of BigBang and B2ST have also been seen in outfits by Boy London, giving the graphic British brand with punk roots new cool with today's generation.

Two decades on, the brands popular in the 1990s are getting their second chance in the sun. How weird is that for kids of the 1990s who are parents today?

Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.