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Fashion Meets Film: Clueless


Like, total closet disaster!

Like, total closet disaster!

So I was, like, totally bugging today! I went to my closet to get ready for work and everything I tried on looked awful! Talk about being a walking fashion victim! But no worries, all I needed to do was throw in some laundry, pop in my favorite DVD, Clueless, to help me through these hard times!

Clueless is a fresh and like, totally awesome twist on the Jane Austin’s classic “Emma.” Cher, our Beverley Hills protagonist, finds herself dealing with the usual problems most teenagers face: clothes, boys, parties, school, and love. Cher takes it upon herself to rehab the love lives of everyone around her, whether they want her help or not. Of course, the more she gets tied up in making other people happy, the more she realizes that her own life is a mess. Directed and written by the fabulous Amy Heckerling, who by that time was already well known for her high-school storytelling style thanks to classics such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless was a fresh take on the trials and tribulation of adolescents.

Total Betties!

Total Betties!

Heckerling’s first act of inspiration as director of Clueless was to hire the talented costume designer Mona May and let her run wild! The trend of shopaholic-Valley-girl-meets-preppy-meets-grunge look was already on the rise in the 90’s, and with the help of Mona May, Amy took the popular craze and put it into hyper-speed. The young schoolgirl look was played in a fun, flirty way, making sure characters got to wear things like button-up white shirts under red velvet dresses or putting a feather or boa lining on the cuffs and necks of coats, to play up the sexy appeal. Mona made sure that Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and her BFF Dionne (played by Stacey Dash), and their newest friend Tai (now deceased Brittany Murphy), look like the Polaroids of perfection. Never ever wearing the same thing twice, the girls ruled the school with their thigh-length socks, bright flower prints, and high wasted jeans.

From the opening scene (which, like totally, looks like an Noxzema commercial!), we understand immediately that Cher knows what she’s talking about. Each morning she picks out her school clothes…you know, the way everybody does…using a computer program that shows her exactly what will look best on her. Holy technology, we’re not in Kansas any more!

Cher and Dionne dedicated hours of extracurricular research to making sure that their outfits complemented each other. Each girl had her own style. Dionne was so into it that she accessorized her hair to match every ensemble. At the huge Valley party, she wore a 70’s inspired floral crop top with bright, vibrant colors. Then she pumped up her already hopping outfit by mimicking the same fluorescent hues in the ribbons twisted in her hair.

Dionne calls out her boo...

Dionne calls out her boo...

Cher played the scandals card right with her single-color, tiny, tight dresses. In one of the more famous scenes in the movie, her boy toy comes to pick up from her house for date. Of course, she wore a terrifyingly short white silk dress. When her dad asks her who would ever call that a dress, Cher replied with impeccable Valley Girl confidence, “Calvin Klein.” She’s the perfect combination of wit and good taste!

Tai goes from drab to totally cute!

Tai goes from drab to totally cute!

When Cher and Dionne first met Tai, she was a new student in desperate need of an reputation-saving makeover. Any quick trim turned a boring T-shirt into a sexy belly shirt. Coke cans as hair curlers added some bounce to her do.  Finishing touches? Mismatched patterns! Tai wore a striped red-and-black shirt with a cute plaid blazer to create eye-dazzling, clashy contrast. Tai also got extra miles out of her clothes when she shows us about 50 different ways to wear a sheer floral button-up with her adorable flower-and-butterfly patched overalls. No matter her look though, Tai was always a work in progress. In this memorable scene, she mourns the loss of her love under the tutelage of her girls!

Knee highs for the ladies of Beverly Hills!

Knee highs for the ladies of Beverly Hills!

From head to toe, a Clueless girl always looked her best! Socks were thigh-high and shoes almost as high. Platform sneakers and Doc Martins went hand in hand with any and every feminine ensemble. And the ladies of Clueless were never be seen without a super cute tiny backpack. In this gym scene, the Beverly Hills betties mock a pre-made over Tai’s clothing, showing how strict the wardrobe rules were, even when tossing around tennis balls (check out Amber’s spandex steeze!)
Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

The Fine Fellas...

The Fine Fellas...

Now don’t think the girls were the only ones who look great in this movie. Guys like Elton pulled off the rich snob-and a-half-look, Christian (Cher’s boy toy) was a 1940’s-inspired cocktail of Frank Sinatra, James Dean, and Christian Slater. And then there was Dionne’s main man Murray who rocked the braces, with a freshly shaved head, gold chains, a beeper on his hip and a backwards Kangol hat. Even for the boys, though, style was key. Check out Murray ranting about Cher’s little Christian, a classic Clueless moment!

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Herbal Refreshment? As IF!

Herbal Refreshment? As IF!

But Cher said it best in the famous scene where she address the Seattle grunge inspired look that stoners like Travis try to pull off. Greasy hair, baggy pants, a dirty shirt and a backwards baseball hat… I don’t think so! Travis’ Debate Class acceptance speech took a jab at the popular kids, subtly throwing a nod to the anti-fashion movement taking off at the time, which would later evolve into grunge.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Fashion Party in Beverly Hills!

Fashion Party in Beverly Hills!

In the end, this movie was the catalyst that made me love fashion and film. Like Cher, having the freedom to choose whatever I want wear every day gives me “a sense of control in a world full of chaos.” Plus, Clueless helped me to be proud of my height! Now whenever someone asks how tall I am, with all the confidence in the world, I reply, “I am 5’ 10”, like Cindy Crawford.”

Want more Clueless? As if!!!

Just kidding. Check out this awesome behind the scenes footage of the making of the movie with costume designer Mona May, and peep the gallery of pics from the feature below!

Image layout courtesy of the fantastic Phaymiss!

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3 Responses to “Fashion Meets Film: Clueless”

  1. I still am inspired fashion-wise by Clueless, even after watching this every weekend when I was in 8th grade. And that sheer collared dress number Cher layers? I spent a lot of hours finding something similar to work for me back in the day.

  2. Ana Ana says:

    Clueless is still my fave movie, depite killing the VHS all through middle and high school. I remember running to 579 (they were hott in the 90s) and Contempo Casuals to mimic Cher and Dionne’s outfits. This movie ignited my love for thigh highs that is still going strong over ten years later.

  3. JanaNye says:

    After I saw this movie I went out and bought a plaid skirt and feather pen. I kept waiting for some dude to tell me I had ‘nice stems’. Never happened. Excellent post.

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