News Article

The Way They Wore

Fashion icons of 1990 -- Queen Latifah, Madonna, and Lady Kier from Deee-lite inspired us with their style this year

Madonna struck pose after pose, Bart T-eed everyone off, and Prince spent the summer topless, as clothes (or the lack of them) became a big part of the act.

Material Whirl
Nobody beat fashion dominatrix Madonna for pure quick-change energy. In a breathtaking parade of outrageous outfits — everything from a transparent blouse (from her ''Vogue'' video) and pointy push-up bras to the Stars and Stripes and the Marie Antoinette look — the style diva proved that fashion is entertainment.

Out of Africa
Led by Queen Latifah in African-print pajama suits, skull caps, and big wooden bracelets and earrings, black female rappers returned to their ancestral roots, making more than style points with their inspired attire.

Dress This Way
Meanwhile, the male rap-pack gave us an urban style that even Jane Fonda could get into from M.C. Hammer's baggy parachute pants to Fresh Prince Will Smith's loose-cut overalls worn with one buckle open.

Work Force
When it came to women's office fashions, Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown set a bright tone in boldly colored jackets over fitted slacks or short skirts. She couldn't keep a secretary, but she did keep current.

That's Armani
The new dress-for-success look on thirtysomething had admen Michael and Elliot option for Giorgio Armani. For Michael, it was the tailored suits, while Elliot wore the Italian designer's unconstructed jackets with bright ties and sneakers. The year's last-admired Armani: the slack brown potato sack of a dress that Julia Roberts wore to the Oscars.

The Mod Squad
Lisa Stansfield with a slick spit curl, Cyndi Lauper's pageboy and platform shoes Deee-lite's Lady Kier in a psychedelic catsuit worthy of Twiggy — '60s styles were coursing through the pop mainstream, counterculture implications not necessarily included.

Fashion Victims and Proud of It!
Chanel, Gucci, Vuitton — Simpsons? With more than 20 million authorized T-shirts sold, the new jersey of choice was a work of Bart. A massive merchandising campaign made his familiar quotations — ''I'm Bart Simpson. Who the Hell are You?'' and ''Underachiever and Proud of It'' — endemic, and made the world safe for free lancers, who put forth the likes of Air Bart and M.C. Bart.

Sweater Set
Diamond chokers, slinky evening gowns, and feather boas were no longer a femme fatale's best friend: The fate of kinky Laura Palmer didn't deter Twin Peaks' other schoolgirl vamps from sporting short flared skirts, tight angora sweaters, and gobs of bright-red lip gloss.

Dapper Dons
In a seemingly endless string of gangster movies, such meticulous mobsters as Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III, Gabriel Byrne in Miller's Crossing, and Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, showed that crime could be quite nattily organized.

Back to Basics
No fashion statement this year could top the stripped-down chic of the ever-beautiful Prince. For his summer concert tour, The Purple One decided the only decent thing to do was to lose his shirt.

Originally posted Dec 28, 1990 Published in issue #46-47 Dec 29, 1990 Order article reprints