Painful but true, cult teen film Clueless
is 15 years old this Summer. Since its release in 1995, the Amy Heckerling directed rom-com has become a reference gold mine for mid-nineties pop culture, and launched the movie careers of Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and the late Brittany Murphy.
(Very) loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma
tells the story of Cher Horowitz, a sweet if shallow wealthy teenager living in the hugely affluent California district of Beverley Hills, and her search for love and meaning in an environment of vacuous materialism.
But more than proving to be a benchmark for Generation Y, for many of us girls (and boys) of a certain age, it provided an entrée into the world of fashion, for whilst the film didn’t take itself seriously, its approach to clothes was a different matter all together.
In one particularly well-known scene, Cher (Silverstone) is held up at gun-point by a mugger but refuses to lay down on the floor, explaining to her captor that her dress is an Alaia. Like most of the young audience, he doesn’t understand what she is talking about, so she explains, ‘it’s like a totally important designer’. The red dress isn’t perhaps the most representational of the Tunisian designer’s signature body-con pieces, but for myself at least, it does at least serve as a memorable introduction to the ‘King of Cling’. The Alaia dress
Perhaps it’s the wittiness of t he script in relation to the clothes the characters wear that make Clueless
so compelling as a fashion film, would anyone really remember Cher’s tiny white dress if it hadn’t been accompanied by such a unforgettable interchange between the ditzy heroine and her father, which goes along the lines of ;
Dad: What are you wearing?
Cher: A dress.
Dad: Says who?
Cher: Calvin Klein.
In any case, the film’s enduring popularity has prompted the American designer to re-issue the offending garment as a limited edition piece this year. The Calvin Klein dress
In fact, Cher and her airhead friends are making quite the impression on the catwalk this season. Looking back, their meticulously co-ordinated outfits might seem cartoonish and dated, stuck in nostalgia, but look a little closer and you’ll see that given a slick, 21st century make-over, they’re out in force on the catwalk for Autumn/Winter 2010 and looking better than you’ll ever believe…Plaid
In the past few years plaid has established itself as a style staple, open any wardrobe, male or female and you’re likely you to find some kind of tartan or checked shirt. But usually it’s more in the vein of loose-fitting and casual, like Cher’s grungy male classmates rather than the cute, tailored two pieces sported by the girls. This season, however, Chris Benz, decided to take a more structured approach to plaid, showing a neat yellow tartan blazer last seen on everyone’s favourite Beverley Hills blonde. Sheer
Last season we had underwear as outwear, this season we have sheer fabrics, still sexy but slightly more subtle. The oh-so-Nineties see-through blouses that featured heavily in the film’s costumes appeared in next season collections from the likes of Giambasti Valli (as seen below) and Balmain. But since neither of these designers are well known for their mall-rat aesthetic, it’s not surprising that their sheer tops have been given a chic update, losing the undone buttons and over-sized collars in favour of close fits, subtle polka dots and elegant pussy bows. Knee Socks
Knee socks were a Nineties staple, and whilst it’s unlikely Cher’s dubious glossy white pop socks are about to rocket back into the style charts, her darker, more preppy take on the look is undoubtably a hot one. Knee socks teamed with layers of shirts and knits in classic colours like navy, grey and blue works well for Autumn and certainly made a splash on the catwalk at Rag and Bone, peeping out from the top of black leather boots.Buttoned Up
Mannish tailoring is set to be one of the biggest fashion stories next season, seen here at Alexander Wang, with buttoned-up shirts and structured pieces forming the basis of the look. Cher’s take, with a crisp white shirt paired with a simple black blazer still looks fresh today, but then, as sartorial classics, they’re the kind of investments that will never date.