Tuesday, 12 January 2010
A vintage decade
It's official. The nineties are back in fashion and to prove it, Selfridges has opened a Vintage Concept Store dedicated to the decade. Now, when the eighties came back and slapped That's Not My Age in the face, it felt like I'd well and truly tripped over a generation gap. But this time I'm ready for some retro action. And to celebrate, here's a small tribute to my favourite fashion magazine of the nineties, American Harper's Bazaar, with the late Liz Tilberis as editor.
Saying she wanted to create 'the most beautiful fashion magazine in the world,' Tilberis moved to New York after 20 years at British Vogue (starting as an intern, becoming editor-in-chief when Anna Wintour moved to Manhattan) to turn fusty old Harper's around. With Fabien Baron as creative director, Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh shooting the photos, Kate, Naomi and the Amber Valetta adorning the fashion pages, it wasn't long before the magazine looked simple, elegant, cool.
And, despite the occasional foray into rock chickery, That's Not My Age is quite fond of the nineties pared-down aesthetic. In fact, I'm still wearing it today, and not in a totally fashion-forward sense. If it's simple, elegant and unfussy, it works for me. And to quote Tilberis (from May 1996 editor's letter), 'Great fashion has moved away from extremism to a kind of luxurious subtlety. To me all this is a delight. Like most grown-up women, I'll instinctively reject anything that makes me feel not like myself.'
Are the nineties cool again? Or should we be looking forwards not back?
Images from Harper's Bazaar May 1998. Fashion editor, Tonne Goodman, photographed by Wayne Maser.