Oh, no. You don’t understand, this is an Alaïa.’
It is undeniably difficult to hold back from starting this week’s homage to Cher Horowitz’s style without one of her infamous quotables. Today we’re unapologetically basking in the light that is Cher’s super chic, indelible imprint as a 90s style icon.
Do you prefer ‘fashion victim’ or ‘ensembly challenged?’
Portrayed by actress Alicia Silverstone in the Amy Heckerling-directed cult classic Clueless, a tale modelled by and large on Jane Austen’s Emma, Cher’s love for fashion was apparent and admirable. Her stylistic confidence, arguably beyond her teenage years, made her a joy to watch on screen and naturally an inspiration for many young girls both at the time of the film’s 1995 release and still today.
For some, a rotating wardrobe and combined ‘Dress Me’ style software, is enough to warrant style icon status. Teenage girls around the world were blown away by that scene. The significance of composition, a well put-together ensemble saturated the conscious of the impressionable population that had been captured by Cher’s inimitable sartorial savvy. In fact, it put the term ‘ensemble’ into everyday vocabulary for many teenage girls.
Lucy! Where’s my white collarless shirt from Fred Segal? It’s my most capable looking outfit!’
Stood on the marble staircase in her father’s mansion, the now classic, white, Calvin Klein silk number became THE dream dress.
Dad: What the hell is that?
Cher: A dress. Dad: Says who?
Cher: Calvin Klein.’
Cher, a vision of innocent, mid-adolescent beauty, with her glossy yet minimally-coiffed hair, demonstrated her own advice when she memorably advised us that, “Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good. Also, sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds guys of being naked, and then they think of sex…”
Cher exhibited this Clueless adage tastefully. Always tasteful. Whether she was opting for a seemingly daring look or showing skin, her look was consciously, perhaps even painstakingly, refined. Cher’s style notes reinforce the fact that it’s okay to be girly.
To neglect Horowitz’s red Alaïa slip is impossible, especially considering the aforementioned dialogue from her scene with the robber. It’s no wonder personalities from Georgia May Jagger, Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Nicola Roberts and more have been spotted on the red carpet in recent years replicating Cher’s iconic threads, the gravity of her chic unabating.
Cher’s love for red, among other colours was palpable. There’s undoubtedly a distinct quality added when a female wears red well. And wear it well she did. Whilst her make-up choices were quite modest, Cher often opted for lip colour to complement her enviously dewy skin.
Fond of long plume scarves and other feathery accents; she also loved tidbits of fur on her sleeves, backpack, clutch (in which she kept her flip Nokia) and even stationary. Just imagine the kind of cutesy chic iPhone case Cher would have had if Clueless had been set today!
I mean, ordinarily I would strut around in my cutest little outfits and send myself flowers and candy, but I couldn’t do that stuff with Josh.’
For those of us who are unable to see beyond the academic quality of pleated skirts harboured in memories of school days long gone, Cher displays just how grown up and chic the item is. Usually wearing her pleats in plaid [all hail that iconic canary yellow matching suit], Cher paired the skirt with white knee-high socks rounding off the outfit in an outwardly school girl-ish, yet modest manner. Trend tabs demonstrate that knee-high socks have returned to the consciousness of many a fashionista’s closet and in the cyclical nature of fashion, they’ll continue to do so.
Cher’s love for plaids filtered throughout the feature film as did her extensive devotion to check prints. Notable accents of Cher’s style included her penchant for layering, from collared shirts and sweaters, cropped sweater vests, blazers and her matching cardigan ensembles to high-waisted trousers & jeans, as well as her strappy mid-heel shoes, cutesy choker necklaces and her trusty ownership of the definitive black beret.
You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet.
Perhaps it was subconscious Cher choosing to wear white so often, considering her ‘hymenally challenged’ disposition. Nevertheless, whether it was an oversized white shirt with frills, an undershirt, a simple loose fitting tee or even white shoes, Miss Horowitz consistently pulled off her looks, demure with an edge of faint aloofness.
Sporting tons of fabrics and hues from her chiffon blouses, love of silks, pale & powder pink items – remember her oversized bucket and matching coat, as well as fitted satin dresses? Cher did so whilst setting an example. What good would a style icon be without style ethics? Teaching us the importance of ensuring our threads live on through our duties of donation, ‘…excuse me, but I have donated many expensive Italian outfits to Lucy!’
A time capsule for one face of fabulous nineties style, Cher Horowitz’s chic attires have been far from transient. Seeping in and out of designer runways periodically, and establishing the relevancy of the trends set over two decades, in much the same way the film continues to captivate many of us.
And oh, even if she may not have known Bosnia’s geographical location, she was so right about this: “So okay, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, 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.” Still so relevant.
Surely, Cher’s rolling style sway can extend but only so far? Surely, she’s a just relic of 90s nostalgia that will soon fade? Ha, as if!
Words by Laura Arowolo
Previously: Ghostface Killah.