Thursday, 18 August 2011

10 Things I like about the 1990s

Hi everyone!
Hope your week's going great so far.
This week, I'm back to the world of blogging and today I'm continuing my '10 Things I like' series.

The '90s feel like only yesterday, yet they began twenty-one interesting years ago. For fashion, this fascinating decade seems never to have ended.

Kate Moss & Johnny Depp in the '90s, Image via

1. Fashion (con)fusion
After the garish fashion trends of the '80s and the residual glamorous, seductress look, there was an urge to tone things down. This resulted in the first wave of eclectic trends. Retro, grunge, preppy, goth and everything else in between seemed to be going off all at the same time in the early '90s. Clearly, consumers started to use their own styling skills rather than wait for the next fashion trend. We saw a lot of 'reverse influence' – when street style appeared in high fashion collections. The book Fashion Since 1900 states that Dolce & Gabbana showed Hippie, Karl Lagerfield for Chanel used B-Boy and Surf, Rifat Ozbek had Rasta, while Jean-Paul Gautier focused on ethnic-subcultural styles.

Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista for Anna Sui, 1994; Image from
Dominant colourways of the early '90s were coral, hot pink, and turquoise. Later on, The Gap and Banana Republic popularised black, white and khaki. Flannels were in and jeans were a staple of most wardrobes. Come 1998 to 1999, fashion houses used ultra-luxurious materials like super-fine suede, leather, fur, tweeds, exotic feathers and hand-felted wool.
In my previous post Soleful Monday, my shoe designer friend explained that the economic recession of the '80s resulted in higher heels — a projection of denial from financial worries. Historically, heels were associated with wealth and rank; in modern times shoes with higher heels have remained a signifier of wealth, although this is decreasingly true nowadays.
A major feature of the 1990s was financial recovery in the developed world. High-income countries were enjoying affluence, and fashion seemed to relax – becoming more casual and eclectic. Ladies were happy to wear flats and chunky boots.

Image via Felipe
2. Doc Martens and the fat, chunky ones
DMs, trekking boots, and any kind of boots were favourite footwear. Women paired them with floral dresses, jeans or shorts, to go galavanting with friends or on dates.

Lulu Guinness 2011, Image via

3. The rise of handbags
Towards the end of the decade, accessories gained momentum and fashion houses focused on the all-important and lucrative handbag as the ultimate accessory. Handbag designers like American Judith Leiber and British Lulu Guinness hit a roll. As glitteratis were photographed everywhere clutching handbags, demand skyrocketed.

4. TV series
Right. This is a bit tricky as I like most of the '90s television serials. My best four are as follows:

Friends became the most popular sitcom because it was funny and everyone can relate to the intimacy of friendship as a universal language. Jennifer Aniston also started the "The Rachel" hair phenomenon. Girls would copy her hair style. This solidified Aniston as an icon of 1990s sitcom and she hasn't left the pages of celebrity magazines since.
Dawson's Creek was the first teen drama which highlighted music as an integral part of the show. I remember waiting, wondering what song will be featured at the end of each episode. The singer or band were also usually up-and-coming artists, which made me admire the series more.
❤ The original Beverly Hills 90210 aired first in October 1990. It featured beautiful, wealthy, troubled teenagers living their lives in a fictional upscale community. All viewers had a crush on most of the beautiful characters and people loved the idea of spying on how residents of Beverly Hills 'live their lives'.
Northern Exposure was my all-time favourite. With its unique combination of poetic comedy and drama, clever story lines and great actors, it was indeed an intelligent TV show. I'll never forget the day I first saw John Corbett and the way he played his part — an unassuming gorgeous DJ in the deepest, coldest Cicely, Alaska. I'm surprised the place didn't melt.

Image from
5. Nirvana
Every decade has its distinctive sound as fashion has its distinctive look.
To say that Nirvana, a band from Seattle, was the last best band of the 20th century is an understatement. Regardless of the controversy that it copied the opening riff of "Come as You Are" from UK's Killing Joke, which, in turn, is said to have copied from The Damned, Nirvana successfully became the premier ambassador of grunge music and fashion. Listening to its Nevermind album opened several layers of delicious tunes for me. 
Grunge fashion was further supported by Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs.

Image from
6. Alexander McQueen
Dubbed as "l'enfant terrible" of British fashion due to his unconventional designs and theatrical runways, he was awarded British Designer in 1996 and 1997. His designs were easily recognisable because they broke the mould. Lisa Armstrong of the Times Online summed it up perfectly — "It was not just the props and the models that provided the frisson...showers of live moths; amputees; walking on water; a woman reclining in a vast glass box, almost swallowed up by her rolls of fat and naked apart from her elaborate breathing apparatus; the model Shalmom Harlow being spray-painted by a machine in Jackson Pollock style".
He was credited for the return of low-rise jeans or "bumsters". He never stopped concocting new designs until his death in 2010.

Keanu Reeves, The Matrix (1999); Image via
7. The Matrix
The film that changed movies forever. The action sequence of Keanu Reeves bending backwards to dodge bullets in slow-motion and characters floating and walking on walls, since then, have been the standard of achievement of many good movies in the 21st century. One of the highlights for me was hearing Massive Attack's "Dissolved Girl" quietly playing in Keanu's headphones whilst he was asleep on his desk.

Image from

8. Nokia phones
We can thank the Finnish company Nokia, for revolutionising phones and digital communication. I remember going through three different mobile phones, trying to have something 'cool' – settling with the 3210. It was the first handset which looked streamlined, thanks to its hidden antenna; it had a bigger screen for text messaging, and a composer function, where you could create your own tunes. I remember creating the X-Men animation's theme tune and thought it was a pretty cool phone.
Without Nokia, there won't be iPhones.

Image from
9.  Ebay
The world's first-ever internet marketplace reinforced globalisation — anywhere in the world, one could suddenly purchase commodities locally or internationally. It may have caused auction houses to lose business but it gave untold opportunities to work at home and sell on-line. It also paved the way for on-line shopping.
Without Ebay, there won't be Etsy.

Image from
10. Google
Microsoft's Hotmail may have rocked the world in 1996 as the first free web-based email service, but Google, which officially launched in 1998 as a result of a research project two years before, became ''s' search engine authority. 
Remember the thrill of 'googling' your crush on the internet? Year after year, it has gone from strength to strength and so we're currently enjoying the maturation of the digital age. These days, there is little that we don't Google.

So what are your memories of the 1990s? Was it a good decade for you? Are you a '90s fan? What don't you like about the decade?

Thanks for reading.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


More to read:



  1. You were really smart finding all those great things from 90's! Oh well, apart from Dawson's Creek... I mean, I used to watch it but I wouldn't mention it as one of the highest moments of 90s hahhaah! I completely agree with Nokias!!! They were so "strong", easy to use and almost indestructible!!!

  2. Fantastic picks..seems forever ago these things, but it's good to look back on them..hope you are well and wish you a fantastic weekend! xx

  3. Thanks for visiting, ladies.
    I'm just amazed at how technology is running our lives now. Scary esp. if one's not careful :)
    Joy x

  4. Joy-
    Love your blog!!!
    I just posted a blog entry about the 1992 movie "Singles", Marc Jacobs & the grunge era!!! I just saw your entry & love this!!!
    I am following your blog...

  5. Thanks so much for commenting & following my blog.
    I just saw you're on Twitter too & I'm following you.
    Hope you have a great weekend!!!

  6. Fantastic roundup! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I used to look back with a shudder at all the horrible things I used to wear in the '90s, then after recently watching Melrose Place series, I realized it wasn't just me.

  7. @Shannon: Thanks so much for following. Also found you on twitter, too. I'm following your cool blog now.

    @Katie: Loved Melrose Place! I'm sure you looked good :) Hope all's well.

    Joy xx

  8. awww, good old, sweet 90s:) I have the impression that it was better then the series, models, movies, everything ... I love that time:) very, very interesting post, as always:)

  9. Looking forward to another post Joy :D


❤I write because you read. Thanks for the love❤