The Breakfast Club was the coming of age movie in the 1980s. A decade later, Clueless ticked the box for the 1990s teen. Twenty years after its release, it still has a special place in Paula Burns’ heart - and wardrobe.
Cher Horowitz may not know how to drive but what she lacks in road capability she more than makes up for in the fashion stakes.
It’s 20 years since the spoilt Beverly Hills teen graced our screens in the teen cult sensation Clueless.
It may seem a little ‘clueless’ attributing cult status to this seemingly brash teen movie filled with rich kids living in mansions spending daddy’s cash but in fashion terms it was innovative.
Thanks to Cher I found a deep love for the tartan skirt that continues today.
For the first time since Molly Ringwald had exhausted every shade of pink us teenage girls had a fashion muse on the silver screen.
Within its first sell out weekend at the box office, Clueless had struck a strong cord with the teen generation.
Its Californian filled lilt and original lingo matched with a selection of on trend, easy on the eye fashionistas brought a fresh vibe back to the cinema.
Not since the 80s classic, The Breakfast Club, had a movie been aimed at teenagers.
This was a turning point for the 90s generation where they finally had people of their own age on the big screen who they could relate to.
It paved the way for a wave of high-school movies such as American Pie, The Craft and Mean Girls.
For a teenage girl the 90s were all about being a strong woman thanks to the girl power ethos of the Spice Girls.
The music industry was bursting with female vocalist led bands.
No Doubt, Texas, and the Cranberries – who feature strongly on the Clueless soundtrack – were topping the charts.
Taking the narrative of Jane Austen’s Emma could have been risky but it proved the temperature was right at the time, Hollywood needed to follow the music industries lead if it was going to attract audiences.
Having a female protagonist was what popular culture called for at the time and so the modern day Emma, aka Cher, was born.
Bringing the moralistic values of Austen to the modern day appeal was also a stroke of Hollywood genius.
While Cher boarded on the not so likeable side due to her privileged lifestyle, like her alter ego Emma, she had a human caring side.
But the real star of the movie was the fashion.
Alicia Silverstone’s Cher quickly became a fashion icon.
Clueless set the blueprint for fashion trends for more than a decade.
Everything fashion related in this movie was way ahead of its time.
How can we forget the first scene of Cher choosing her outfit of the day from her super technologically advanced computerised wardrobe (remember this was 20 years ago) that matched her yellow plaid separates.
Cher taking polaroids of her outfits before her date was the 90s version of the selfie.
If blogs had been on the radar, Cher Horowitz would have been the Tavi Gevinson of her day.
For me as a teenager of the 90s the wardrobe of Cher was the bible, I wore a version of every outfit.
The strappy vest over the t-shirt or the v-neck sleeveless sweater over the white over-sized collared shirts were a firm favourite.
Clueless defined the 90s in terms of fashion.
Plaid skirts matched with over the knee socks, spaghetti strapped dresses, chokers, berets, crop tops and of course the imperative A-line skirt became the uniform of a generation.
Even today Cher, Dionne and Tai continue to be muses for street style.
Alexa Chung has carried on the advocacy of the A-line skirt.
With the resurgence of 90s fashion on the catwalks, Clueless has never been more in vogue.
Throughout the movie, Cher sports numerous backpacks which are now, thanks to Chanel, the must-have accessory for the fashion pack.
The style of the Calvin Klein spaghetti strap white dress has been reinvented by the designer for this season.
Thanks to clever writing, memorable one-liners and exquisite styling, Clueless will always be on trend.
It will be passed on through generations, each one embracing the fluffy penned, scrunchy wearing high schoolers as their own.
Its timelessness knows no bounds making it a rare gem.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved