REPORT BY HEATH BROWN
A simple shift, a skew-whiff hemline, a whole lack of detail, and perhaps a bold block of colour found on white or black, exemplified the stark, considered look of the Nineties, produced by the likes of Helmut Lang, Jil Sander and Ann Demeulemeester.
This pure, minimalist style may be a far cry from the frantic mixture of all-over print and high-octane colour that has adorned the fashion world of late. But, beware, it is fast making a comeback, albeit with a few 21st-century provisos.
“In the Nineties women didn’t wear high heels with these minimalist styles,” explains Simon Doonan, Creative Ambassador at Large of Barneys New York. “The fact that people wear them now changes the whole look.”
Antonio Berardi agrees and says designers may well be referencing the era, but proportion, silhouette and attitude are all new. “I looked back to Helmut Lang and the Nineties for the latest collection, but this then evolved into a fresh way to make sportswear luxurious.” His collection used ever-so-Nineties Mondrian colour blocking and seams highlighted by contrasting strips.
The younger generation of designers, including Thomas Tait and Simone Rocha, who are showing today, look set to continue the new mood. Even Unique can be found rolling back the decades, to give their younger customers a taste of how cool the former generation actually was. The brand’s Creative Director, Kate Phelan, describes the Nineties revival as being about “wearing clothes in a free and individual style.”
“I think it’s about getting rid of all unwanted detail and making clothes that women want to wear,” said Christian Blanken after his show. “Not esoteric and exclusive.”