I don’t have many memories of the nineties as I spent it in someone’s uterus. But the infamous witchy, grungey style that plagued the “decade fashion forgot” has surpassed nine months and influenced decades of clothes. It may have been what got Marc Jacobs momentarily banished from the fashion world, but this spooky style has made a scarily-brilliant resurrection. Below, we look at the nineties’ fictional femme fatales that cast a spell over the fashion industry, and whose looks we’ve been worshipping ever since.
Our cruci-fixation began with the mother of all that is unholy; 1996’s “The Craft.” Costumed by Deborah Everton, (known for her dressing of scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis on the Halloween movies), the Craft kicked off a wave of onscreen female liberation, and is credited with being the first feminist teen movie.
The four witchy girls schooled us on how to make the best out of your uniform, and are clad in accessories to die for; crosses and crucifix necklaces, chunky silver rings, vampy makeup and Doc Martens fierce enough to make even the bravest Fila wearer shake in their chunky shoes. Today, Fairuza Balks’ wiccan-fluence can be seen nightly on the Powerscout steps, where leather jacket wearing it-girls wrap their silver-ringed fingers around their takeaway potions.
1996 was a big year for hex girls; only a few months after The Craft hit cinemas, spells were being cast on the smaller screen. “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” in her blonde, smiley, not-so-gorey glory entranced us all with her chatty cat, sheer tops and glittery miniskirts that could be changed with a snap of her fingers. But it was her hairstyles that really caught the attention of viewers. Butterfly clips, braids and bizarre crimping were only some of the hair-raising hairstyles that have continued to pop up on through tik tok tutorials. Now if only we could conjure up Britney Spears to help us try them out…
While Sabrina hung out with Harvey and cast spells to get out of homework, a certain stake-weilding mortal realised if you want something slayed, you’ve got to slay it yourself. 1997’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” put the girl in girl power, and showcased utility-chic, for the occult hunter on the go. Wearing sweatpants sets that put our couch-sitting to shame, blue jeans and knee high boots for all her high kicking needs; Buffy managed to slay while she slayed, so much so that she’s inspired an instagram account cataloging all her looks; Vogue approved @retrobuffy
It wasn’t long before we saw witches return to the wide screen format, and something wicked our way came in 1998 when Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman starred as twisted sisters in “Practical Magic”. The pair warmed our hearts in a tale about sea-side sisters with a big secret, involving wands, brooms, and buried boyfriends.
Costume Designer Judianna Makovsky made sure the girls stunned in cottage-core clothes; crochet crop-tops, cozy cardigans, velvet slip dresses and swathes of flowery lace.The Owens girls gave us rules to live by; always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can. Oh- and never be seen without your tiny tinted sunglasses.
There’s many reasons the nineties is known as “the decade fashion forgot, and I’m sure the 1998 TV series “Charmed” was one or two of them. Three witchy sisters battle with the underworld’s underbelly, and occasionally, the fashion police. Clashing outfits, blue eyeshadow and accessories that look like they were cursed by Claire herself, Charmed has not stood the test of time. Maybe in the next life ladies.
Author: Aoife Noonan
Image Credit: @retrobuffy Instagram