From the moment Cher Horowitz stepped onto the big screen in a natty black blazer and argyle mini, Clueless had us totally buggin’. Back then, grunge was still in its heyday—Marc Jacobs had released his Perry Ellis collection just three years prior—and though flannel and Dr. Martens looked rock-star cool on Kate Moss and Kurt Cobain, some things got, shall we say, lost in translation. Take it from Cher:
“It looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants, and take their greasy hair, ew, and cover it up with a backwards cap, and like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so.”
Instead, Amy Heckerling’s little-movie-that-could pulled inspiration from the sixties and seventies (sweater sets and plaid minis) and collections from Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Ala├»a (“like, a totally important designer”) to create a colorful, sugar-coated vision of what nineties fashion could be. And then, lo and behold, it was! Clueless helped kick off a new wave of preppy minimalism with the over-the-knee socks and kilts that we still associate with the nineties today.
Two decades later, the cult film still resonates in fashion: Look no further than Alexander Wang, who calls Clueless his favorite movie and sent argyle twinsets and ruffled blouses down the runway for spring 2014. And then there’s the return of Cher’s ubiquitous marabou trim, which was spotted across collections as varied as Roberto Cavalli and Rochas to Maison Margiela this year.
In many ways, the big nineties-by-way-of-the-seventies mood of fall (slip dresses, Lurex, statement white blouses) was also in the air at the halls of Bronson Alcott High School—even Hedi Slimanes luxe California grunge for Saint Laurent fits right in. Here, a look back at the cast of Clueless’ signature styles and how the trends they set have carried forward—no as-ifs about it