Chanel Cresswell in This is England 90

Chanel Cresswell in This is England 90. Credit: Channel 4

It’s a shame that Shane Meadows’ This Is England bids us farewell in 1990.

During the latest and last series of the hit Channel 4 show, there’s an acid-tinged shift in the sartorial tastes of the younger characters. Lol’s baby sister Kel and her peers shun the Fred Perry polos and drainpipes (favoured by the older members of the gang), adopting the new baggy, Madchester look instead. 

But how would Kel and co’s style evolve as they made their way through the rest of the decade?

The real indie fashion icons of the 1990s emerged during two of the most important music movements of the time, grunge and Britpop, the latter being the natural progression for Kel and her bucket hat. 

So let’s raise a bottle of Becks to some of indie’s unlikely fashion icons of the 90s and lament over the missed wardrobe opportunities…

Justine Frischmann 

Every girl wanted to snog Damon Albarn in the 90s. And so it was standard to dress like his one-time girlfriend and Elastica singer, Justine Frischmann. We don’t know if it was the dark floppy hair or Doc Martin boots that did it for him, but we’re betting her penchant for loosely-buttoned, tight-fitting black shirts certainly helped catch his eye. Could see Lol trading her peroxide and polo shirts in the mid-90s for this look.

Bjork

Her signature bantu hairknots are currently enjoying a revival thanks to some 90s-obsessed Instagrammers, but the Icelandic songstress had some out-there looks during her heyday that could be imitated by few. She sang about Human Behaviour yet dressed like an animal, albeit a very pretty one. Rainbow bright feathers, pastel furs and cobalt eyeshadow were only a prequel to the now-infamous swan dress she wore to the Academy Awards in 2001.

Shirley Manson

She was the feminine face of grunge, with her flame-red hair, red lipstick and heavy-lined eyes. If Smell added some shiny, coloured PVC and tartan mini skirts to her all-black wardrobe circa 1995, this is probably what she’d look like.

Louise Wener

The Sleeper singer was the ultimate fashion Inbetweener, treading the very narrow lad/ladette line with some typically androgynous 90s outfits. With her dark cropped hair featuring Geri-style blonde curtains, she was like a cool hybrid of Sporty and Ginger Spice, favouring Fila tracksuit tops and tight cropped vests. Girl power.

Gwen Stefani

Before she morphed into a scarlet-lipped blonde bombshell, No Doubt’s lead singer was experimenting with bold fashion looks like bindis, braids and, er, braces (the metal ones that help hold your teeth, not your trousers, in place). And she nailed the mermaid hair look, with aqua, lilac and candy pink locks, before most of today’s fashion bloggers were born.

Lauren Laverne

The TV and radio presenter would readily admit that her Britpop band Kenickie won’t be remembered for their music, but some of Lauren’s signature 90s looks are hard to forget. She may be my favourite Britpop fashion moment, with her platinum chopstick bun and satin Chinese dresses, topped with a healthy sprinkle of silver glitter eyeshadow.

Courtney Love

Whether you think she was a glorified Nirvana groupie or one of the most important frontwomen of the 90s, there’s no denying that Courtney’s grunge goddess style was influential. Imagine Marilyn Monroe went on a night out, but forgot to bleach her roots. She has one too many drinks. Wakes up to discover her lipstick is smudged on her face, she’s forgotten to take her silk dress off and her sheer stockings are laddered. That’s kinda how Courtney rolled in the 90s. 

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

I have a slight addiction to the Topshop makeup range that means I can’t shop online or instore without picking up a little something from the now extensive range.

More often than not it’s a new nail varnish shade but, inspired by some cosmetic looks I’d seen at London Fashion Week, I decided to try the new gloss ink range.

I fancied a change from my usual bright red satin matte lipstick (Topshop Rio Rio) and classic pink creme (Estee Lauder Crystal Baby) so I decided to look for a deep berry shade.

I’ve always found berry shades tricky. Too light and you’re verging on frosted ’80s heather that instantly yellowfies teeth. Too dark and you’ve crossed over to the dark side with almost black lips that scare boys. Where is that berry inbetweener?

So after what seemed like a million swatch tests, I decided on the new Gloss Ink in Cruel, a deep berry shade with a hint of pink.

Topshop Gloss Ink in Cruel

I’m a sucker for names so that was a factor – I imagined that Sarah Michelle Gellar would sport something similar in her Cruel Intentions days (15 years ago!!), most probably while she was hatching some elaborate plot to wreak havoc amongst her friends.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions

Other inspiration on colour choice comes from more ’90s screen icons, all with a dark side:

 

Nancy (Fairuza Balk) in The Craft

Brenda (Shannen Doherty) in Beverly Hills 90210

Abby (Monica Keena) in Dawson’s Creek

Rayanne (AJ Langer) in My So Called Life

The best thing about the gloss ink is that it goes on as high shine gloss colour and fades into a long-lasting stain. When I say long-lasting I mean hours – my first application lasted through two cups of tea and a bottle of water. By lunchtime I was amazed that I still had any colour on my lips never mind one with impact. 
 
It also manages to be non-drying on your lips, which is quite an achievement given how long it stays put. For £8, this is truly value for money in a chic black matte tube.
 
Definitely a new makeup bag staple and I’ll be stocking up on more colours for spring.
 

 

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

It always seems a bit of an anticlimax watching next season’s trends strutting down the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris when we’ve barely had a chance to try this season’s hottest looks.

I was just getting my head round rainbow pastels and printed bomber jackets when I started to get excited at the prospect of orange coats (next winter’s bolder version of AW13’s pink coat) and quilted everything.

So if you’re like me and too impatient to wait on next winter (yep, this winter is still with us I KNOW) is any of this stuff actually available in the shops, like, now?

Fear not… here’s some AW14 trends that have appeared as if by magic, on the high street, 6 months early. Even better – they work when the sun shines too! Makes you wonder why we bother splitting the seasons…

ORANGE

It wasn’t just the coats that were orange, as designers including Antipodium, Burberry and Preen chose blood orange to bring their designs to life. Next season looks like a tangerine dream so try the trend while the sun’s out and you’ve got a hint of a tan.

Elizabeth and James Ursula Orange Collarless Jacket // KG Kurt Geiger Cara Orange Low Heel Court Shoe // Warehouse Orange Lace Detail Swing Dress// Valentino Rockstud Orange Leather Clutch Bag // The Row by Linda Farrow Orange Wayfarer Sunglasses// Topshop Orange Flower Lace Top

THE BOMBER JACKET

The ’90s obsession continues into AW14 and this season’s must-have bomber jacket was a key feature in collections from Giles, House of Holland and Jonathan Saunders, who gave us a double-trend treat with a quilted version (more on that in a minute).

Markus Lupfer Printed Satin Bomber Jacket // Balmain Quilted Bomber Jacket // Marc by Marc Jacobs Satin Bomber Jacket // Mint Velvet Pearl Grey Bomber Jacket // Schott NYC Floral Bomber Jacket 

QUILTING

Again House of Holland and Jonathan Saunders were leading the way with this ’90s-inspired texture trend, but Christopher Kane and Peter Pilotto also worked quilting into their AW14 collections and Dior’s standout piece was a fuchsia quilted baby doll dress. The appeal of the classic quilted Chanel bag never wanes anyway but a vintage version of the eternally chic arm candy is the ultimate statement piece next season.

Balmain White Quilted Nappa Leather Biker Jacket // Boohoo Heather Selfie Quilted T-Shirt Dress // River Island Pink Quilted Bralet Crop Top // Warehouse Black Quilted Mini Skirt // Topshop Neon Yellow Quilted Jumper // Chanel Vintage Pink Silk Quilted Shoulder Bag

MATCHY MATCHY

Another ’90s-inspired trend that moves away from the more grunge-based looks of recent seasons, this trend takes our current Clueless obsession to new levels. Skirt and short suits in matching colours and prints are where it’s at, so take your cue from Cher and Dionne and parade in head to toe plaid or coordinate your colours.

Moschino Vintage Tartan Check Skirt Suit // Moschino Jeans Vintage Skirt and Jacket Suit // Ted Baker Filica Bow Pocket Suit Jacket // Ted Baker Metallic Suit Shorts // Topshop Betty Boucle Suit Jacket //

ASYMMETRY

While matching prints and colours were a popular choice at the AW14 shows, symmetrical garments were ousted in favour of the lopsided look. Irregular shapes and hemlines on dresses, tops and skirts are sure to be everywhere next season. From Dior’s outlandish quilted asymmetric hem baby doll dress to the avant garde asymmetry at Gareth Pugh and Viktor & Rolf, uneven style is in for AW14.

Saint Laurent Pink Silk One Shoulder Dress // Alexander Wang Cotton Pique Top // Topshop Black Chunky Zip Wrap Skirt // Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Cobalt Blue Leather Jacket // Vanessa Bruno Athe Coral Silk Front Dress // River Island Bright Pink One Shoulder Dress

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

Patsy Kensit’s autobiography Absolute Beginner
Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher on the cover of
Vanity Fair magazine at the height of Cool Britannia

When I heard Patsy Kensit was penning an autobiography I knew I had to buy it it. Part self help and part curiosity, I look forward to finding out how she’s managed to stay a hopeless romantic in spite of four failed marriages and a string of betrayals from men she loved. Especially when one of those failed marriages involved the man she says will always be the love of her life, Liam Gallagher. Where do you go after that?!

Throw in a couple of cancer scares, a less than ideal upbringing and a constant battle to remain thin poor Patsy’s not exactly had it easy, so the book (so far) is proving to be a fascinating read.

These days she’s most recognised as the face of Weight Watchers but in the ’90s Patsy was somewhat of a style icon, not adverse to flashing flesh in sheer underwear and slinky slip dresses. Not as outlandish as her sister in law of the time, Meg Mathews, she was the understated yet sexy rock star wife of the decade.

Seeing as the ’90s are having another moment, we could do worse than look to Patsy’s Primrose Hill wardrobe for inspiration. Never know, it may even catch the eye of potential rock star husbands…

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

antwerp

As the ’90s fashion moment continues I’ve become slightly obsessed with Antwerp. The Belgian city may have arrived on the fashion map via the ’80s designer collective known as ‘The Antwerp Six’, but its cutting edge minimalism is very much a look I associate with the early ’90s.

The Antwerp Fashion Academy graduates – Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries van Noten, Dirk van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee, Ann Demeulemeester and later Martin Margiela – placed themselves in the style spotlight when they hired a van and crossed the channel to show in London.

 
The avant garde nature of the their collections changed the fashion landscape and although individually the designers’ styles varied, collectively they made their mark with directional, futuristic and theatrical styles that challenged the notion of what fashion was at the time.
 
And here was me thinking that Belgium’s most famous export was Hercule Poirot – no mon ami!
 
Topshop, always on the ball with a trend, have seized this fashion moment with the aptly-named ‘90s Antwerp collection, featuring plenty of luxe minimal pieces that capture the look perfectly.
 
Also launching this week in the UK is Belgian label Essentiel Antwerp. The simple styling of the brand is an extension of their history, which they sum up in one line –  what started out as a basic T-shirt collection in 1999 grew into a colorful Ready-to-Wear collection for men and women. ‘Nuff said.
 

Essentiel Antwerp is available to buy in the UK from Fenwick, Anthropologie, Harvey Nichols, Asos, Zalando and Atterley Road.

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

 

It’s hard to believe that Michelle Williams started her acting career in ’90s teen drama Dawson’s Creek, especially when you look at the latest shots of her in Louis Vuitton’s new campaign.

The Creek kids never had the edge when it came to style, opting for a uniform of checked shirts and stonewash jeans as they played out a series of melodramas in the backwaters of America.

But Michelle’s character Jen Lindley at least promised some fashion moments, with too-tight sweaters and flirty babydoll dresses we can only assume she’d managed to smuggle in her suitcase from her time living in New York.

The luxury label has latched onto the blonde bombshell’s early on-screen grunge roots for the autumn/winter 2013 shots, with Michelle’s first major fashion campaign featuring a strong ’90s vibe.

With the minimal styling and striking makeup, Michelle’s more reminiscent of early ’90s Madonna than ’50s starlet Marilyn Monroe, whom she recently morphed into for her lead role in My Week With Marilyn.

The overly-monogrammed Louis Vuitton collections certainly need an injection of cool after becoming synonymous with WAG meets Essex style. Judging by these shots, Michelle might just be the girl to do it.

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

I’m so annoyed with myself for missing the first two episodes of this e4 series, but how good is it??

For a 90s kid, this is TV heaven and allows me to relive my youth without actually having to go back there.

With plenty of Oasis on the soundtrack, parent-free house parties and embarrassing diary-worthy moments involving boys we should not, but so obviously do, fancy, it pretty much takes me back to my teens.

And before you think I’m looking back, not so much with anger, but with Lennon-esque round rose-tinted glasses, I can assure you I’m not.

The one thing the show does highlight is how appalling some 90s fashion truly was. How did we ever expect to pull a Finn lookalike wearing a checked shirt and ill-fitting jeans combo?

And hair before ghds/highlights/extensions plainly just sucked. Though not as much as lilac eyeshadow and bushy eyebrows – words fail me on why we thought this was a good look.

Bless lead character Rae Earl and her backpack – we really didn’t know the science that smaller bags = larger bodies in the 90s. If only someone had pointed out that it’s all about proportions (cue The Olsens), we wouldn’t have been so eager to strap one of those things to our backs.

But alas, they seem to be having a revival now that the 90s is considered retro/vintage/waybackwhen.

If you really must channel Raemundo in a backpack, make sure it’s one of these – perfect for carrying your padlocked diary entries and mix tapes.

1 – Imogen Leopard Rucksack, £25, Boohoo.com // 2 – Vivienne Westwood Cobalt Blue Leather Backpack, £550, Coggles.com // 3 – Studded Denim Backpack, £35, Topshop // 4 – Italian Leather Backpack, £49, M&Co // 5 – Moschino Quilted Backpack, £1118.33, farfetch.com // 6 – Studded Acid Wash Denim Backpack, £24.99, New Look

My Mad Fat Diary, e4, Mondays at 10pm

 

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.