Fashion from the 1990s to the present day

The end of the 20th century was notable for its extraordinary creativity. A variety of clothing movements characterise the period from the 1990s to the present day.

For the first time, sewing workshops took to the streets and urban style was born. Minority cultures associated with musical trends claimed their personal style, branches of high street shops opened in the face of the growth of small designer names and the vintage wave washed over it all. Goths stood out with their unusual appearance that was a sign of contestation: they mainly wore black, both for clothing and for make-up and hair colour. They wore leather trousers, short skirts, opaque tights under fishnet stockings and Doc Marten boots. In 1991, Nirvana brought out the album Nevermind and an entire generation of tormented youths adopted the grunge style favoured by the band’s singer Kurt Cobain, a blend of layers of dishevelled clothes worn with boots. The urban expression of rappers rivalled that of yuppies. Actors and rap artists wore casual, oversized clothes. They preferred faded jeans, white runners, baseball jackets with satin sleeves, bomber jackets and cricket sweaters. Snoop dog brought the emblematic Converse brand back into style and made their shoes his signature style. Hip hop culture also popularised the bling bling style, with singers wearing lots of jewellery and laying claim to a certain excessive lifestyle that was a huge success with young people who had wild dreams of success. Electronic music developed and counter-cultural movements preferred to go to raves parties and festivals. Fluorescent tights, hi-runners, tight tops and shorts cut from Levis 501s were the ideal outfits for lovers of spaced-out music. Since the 1980s, fashion had also been linked to sport thanks to the fitness craze, and the sportswear spirit became a style in its own right. In the middle of the 1990s, the Spice Girls and All Saints in the UK launched tracksuits and runners as fashion for girls. Major sporting figures also contributed to the prestige of sports brands. Dynamic and authentic urban clothes made their mark on designers who adopted and played with street looks using spirit and whimsy. Karl Lagerfeld dared to combine jeans and a baseball cap with a little tweed Chanel jacket. In high fashion, some important events made their mark on 1990s luxury. Marc Jacob was elected best ready-to-wear designer for women by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1992, John Galliano became design director at Dior, Fendi inaugurated the “It bag” and launched the bowling bag. During the same period, some designers took a more intellectual approach to fashion. They were interested in the aesthetic and drew more minimalist lines. They imagined styles for increasingly active women. Calvin Klein displayed dresses and coats in felt wool, fitted skirts that were not too tight and celebrated the colour grey. In the early years of this century, the arrival of new technologies, in particular the Internet, made a big impact. Fashion became international, clothing production was delocalised and mass consumption was accentuated by the multiplicity of ready to wear chains such as Zara, Morgan, Mango, H&M and Victoria’s Secret that offer models copied from the major international fashion houses at affordable prices for the general public. Side by side with this affordable fashion are other brands that were founded in the 1990s like Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Zadig & Voltaire, Maje, Sandro, Colélac and many others that satisfied a demanding clientele looking for well-cut, quality textiles and a little more originality and freshness. The vintage mode that emerged during the 90s in New York and London, and then in Paris, is still in full swing. Vintage stores are still springing up all over the place. The clothes worn by our mothers and grandmothers are back in fashion. It touches all those who are tired of standardised clothing and objects and who are looking for something original and unique. There is also more responsible fashion, in step with the modern outlook. You can create looks and be in fashion or you can make up your own style by blending the new with a vintage touch. Second-hand couture brands are the most sought-after, demonstrating a return to real values, to rare pieces and a certain idea of exclusivity. Know-how is once again appreciated and respected as part of the cultural heritage.

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Art de Vivre & History Fashion in Paris

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