The 90s were such an important and groundbreaking time for fashion. Some of the most iconic trends came out of the 90s, including acid-wash, blazers, matching sets, and so many more. Designer brands like Versace and Chanel made huge names for themselves due to their iconic shows and models. The term “supermodel” came from this era as certain models like Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford were repeatedly seen on the catwalk.
I love going through fashion shows from the 90s, so I wanted to compile a top ten list of my all-time favorite shows from the decade.
10. Calvin Klein SS94 By: Calvin Klein
Starting off, I have Calvin Klein’s Spring/Summer collection from 1994. The entire collection is so incredibly simple and features basic pieces like white shirts and cotton dresses Almost everything in the collection was either black, white, grey, or beige, but the pieces were indicative of 90s street style and remind me of something that Jennifer Aniston might have worn leaving the set of “Friends.”
9. Prada SS96 By: Miuccia Prada
Next, I have the 1996 Spring/Summer collection from Prada by Miuccia Prada. This is another businesswoman collection that I love. Not to mention “Friends” again, but each piece reminds me of something that Rachel Green would have worn to her job at Ralph Lauren. I am obsessed with the purple pantsuit (slide 1) and would wear most of this collection if I had a job with a business dress code.
8. Vivienne Westwood FW96 By: Vivienne Westwood
Next, I have the Fall/Winter 1996 collection by Vivienne Westwood. Like Ms. Westwood herself, this collection is extremely eclectic. This entire collection is an absolute mess in the best possible way. It is a mashup of bright colors, patterns, puff sleeves, fur, tulle, and much more. The pieces are so outlandish it’s hard to comprehend seeing someone on the street actually wearing them, but they have this vibe around them that makes them somehow seem normal.
7. Chanel SS92 By: Karl Lagerfeld
Pastel and tweed are galore! Next, I have Chanel’s Spring/Summer show from 1992 by the legendary Karl Lagerfeld. One of my dream outfits is a pink Chanel tweed suit and skirt set and this collection is one of the reasons why. Every look is so girly and fun that it hurts my heart knowing that an entire suit costs upwards of $8,000. The collection did not entirely consist of pastels and tweed; there were also black tulle skirts, leather pants, sweaters with the Chanel logo printed on them, and so much more. This collection even featured the iconic black dress with gold chains that were originally worn by Christy Turlington on the catwalk and re-worn by Lily Rose-Depp at the 2019 Met Gala.
6. Christian Dior SS99 By John Galliano
Christian Dior’s Spring/Summer 1999 show by John Galliano is breathtakingly beautiful. The pieces are reminiscent of My Fair Lady with the large decorative hats and floor-length gowns. The collection features more business formal dresses while also showcasing gorgeous ball gowns. Some looks appear to have come straight out of the 1920s due to the makeup and hair on the models.
5. Versace FW92 By: Gianni Versace
Moving on to the most iconic designer of the 90s, the late Mr. Gianni Versace. Versace MADE fashion in the 90s, and he should be credited with making “supermodel” culture as his shows were some of the most iconic of the time. This entire collection SCREAMS cowboy/western chic. Most pieces were made of leather and featured fringe; one look even had a cowboy hat. However, the show did not start like this. The first few looks consisted of puffy winter coat dresses, button-down tops with velvet pants, and strappy dresses.
4. Versace SS91 By: Gianni Versace
Next, we have another Versace line, also by Gianni. This collection is an explosion of color and pop art, and I am OBSESSED! Gianni was inspired by Andy Warhol’s pieces and wanted to incorporate them into his line. The vibrancy of the colors in this collection is insane. The monochromatic dresses, tights, and heels (slide 1) are actually the inspiration behind Versace’s FW21 line. Each piece is so unique, and I love how Gianni used interesting patterns like using Andy Warhol’s paintings of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean as well as the Vogue magazine print (slide 2).
3. Gucci FW95 By: Tom Ford
There is no way I could make a list of the best runway shows of the 90s and not include a Tom Ford for Gucci line. Don’t get me started on how this man absolutely saved the company from going under, but Tom Ford is truly a visionary, and I will always appreciate and admire his work. This collection screams class and elegance, and I just can’t get enough. It is very reminiscent of what Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O wore in their later years. The satin business shirts are incredible, and I love the bright-colored wool coats. I am a sucker for a big poofy fur coat and monochromatic looks, and this collection had a great representation of that. Overall, this is such an incredible collection and one that saved Gucci, all thanks to the legend that is Mr. Tom Ford.
2. Chanel SS94 By: Karl Lagerfeld
Next, I have another Chanel collection by Karl Lagerfeld. This collection is insane, mostly because there were almost 200 looks in the show, which is such a gargantuan task for a fashion designer. This line, once again, is so fun and girly. It starts with the typical bright-colored tweed skirt/suit sets and dresses. This line was so large it went into bathing suits which were also brightly colored with the Chanel logo plastered somewhere on the suit. Almost every relevant supermodel at the time was in this show. You name one, and she was probably in this show. Karl Lagerfeld is like Tom Ford because he is a visionary. What he did for Chanel was amazing; this collection is just one example.
1. Versace FW91 By: Gianni Versace
Finally, we have yet another Versace line. This runway show is one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic, of all time. This is because it is widely considered to be the show that defines what a “supermodel” is. Gianni sent Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington down the runway singing “Freedom” by George Michael (they all were in the music video for the song). Like most of Versace’s lines, it was full of vibrant prints and colors. There were short dresses with thigh-high leather boots and multi-colored plaid ensembles that somehow looked elegant and chic. This entire collection is iconic and throws in the original supermodels, making this the best fashion show of the 1990s.
I can’t talk about fashion shows in the 90s without mentioning one of the most iconic moments in fashion: Alexander McQueen’s S/S 1999 show, where robots spraypainted Shalom Harlow’s white dress. The show was not my favorite, but this moment was a defining one of McQueen’s career and is so incredibly iconic I had to share.