In celebration of their 20 year anniversary, our PR agents, Maxted Thomas, hosted a ’90s party in a huge warehouse on the edge of Surry Hills which was packed with associated fashionistas, clients, beauty bloggers and journos – all decked out in iconic 1990’s fashion or light-heartedly reliving their standout 90’s moments. Being the hair types we are, this event gave us pause to think about the standout hair looks from the decade – two of which we reproduced for the night as you can see below. Brad recreated the iconic hi-top fade that was the choice of hip hoppers in the 90s, whilst I relived my own ’90s past with a heavily streaked blonde colour job and ‘curtain-parted boy-band hair’!
Preparing for the party, we were surprised that the salon clients and staff we asked to recount the most memorable looks from the 90’s often came up stumps! I suppose not every decade is going to be remembered for it’s timeless style, but the ’90s certainly began to feel like most people remembered it as bland of taste or excitment. So here’s a little remeniscence of the hottest 90s hair looks we can remember…
‘The Rachel’ started the hair conversation in thousands of hair salons throughout the decade – and is still a client reference point today. ‘Friends’ star, Jennifer Aniston, had the definitive 90’s women’s style: shoulder length and sleek hair with layers and a grown-out fringe – all accented with highlights about the face. In contrast to that sleek look, was the dirty ‘cool’ of the bo-ho grunge look – ‘bed hair’ that was given extra texture by beach-like sea-salt styling products. Likewise hair length saw extremes – from the boy-crop we saw on Demi Moore in ‘Ghost‘ or Gwyneth Platrow on and off throughout the decade, to the mid-length choppy bleach-tipped crop of Meg Ryan (think ‘Sleepless in Seattle’). The bob was also popular in it sleeker version – think of Uma Therman in ’94’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ or Teri Hatcher in TV’s ‘Lois & Clark’. For women who weren’t prepared to take such drastic style risks as the crop, there was always a volume overload – think the massive mane of Cindy Crawford, the blow-outs of the ‘Melrose Place’ and ‘90210’ gals, or Julia Robert’s glamourous riot of curls in ‘Pretty Woman’ (which also featured another of the iconic ‘cant-live-without’ hair accessories of the 90’s – the ‘Scrunchie’!)’
…and then there’s the men…some of the iconic looks of the ’90’s are seen as just plain bad taste today. Remember the mullet (as worn by celebs like Michael Bolton or Billy-Rae Cyrus)…short (“business”) at the front, and long (“party”) at the back! And the even worse evolution (or de-volution), the ‘Rat’s Tail’. As with the women, the dirty grunge look of rockers/rackers like Kurt Cobain predominated and gave guys an excuse to be lazy and just not care what their hair looked like – “it’s the fashion, mum!” For those guys who liked to maintain their hair longer but more stylised, there was the floppy sweep of longer hair of Dawson from ‘Dawson’s Creek’, Joey from ‘Friends’ or Keanu Reeves. ‘The Curtain’ (heavily parted hair) found it’s biggest advocates amongst ‘boy-bands’, whose members also exhibited a fondness for another 90’s fad – bleached tips, heavy foils and full bleaching (to which homage must be paid to bleach-braveheart, Vanilla Ice, who was probably named after his hairstyle). At the other extreme was the overly-manicured looks like the ultra-short ‘Caesar Cut’ as preferred by George Clooney in ER, Russell Crowe in ‘Gladiator‘, and even Eminem (though he took it much shorter with a Number 1 and led the way for ‘The Extreme Caesar’ to be the most mimiced look by men trying to disguise the on-set of male-pattern baldness!) Zig-Zag tracks, Nike ticks and other patterns were shaved into shorter styles and paired with ‘Hi-top Fades’ as a hip-hop follower’s nod to rebelliousness. And finally of note: ‘the 90’s saw the release of ‘Edward Scissorhands’ – that highly stylised and magical cinematic experience that gave rise to a thousand lawsuits of salons trying to brand themselves and capitalise on the name!
So that’s the 90’s as we remember it…let us know how you do by commenting. Do you think of 90’s fashions fondly?
Cheerio for now, GC x
…and here are some memorable 90’s hair looks – which did you have?