Bit late to the party for this one, but what the hey. Did you know that Calvin Klein has re-released the white shift dress that Alicia Silverstone made famous in Clueless? Yes, you probably did.
Thanks to Mona May’s costume design reinventing the look of an era, replacing baggy jeans and grunge with brightly coloured femininity and for (rich) boys, 1950s drape jackets and high-waisted trousers, Clueless (1995) remains a sartorial time capsule. That May went onto design for the 1996-97 television series demonstrates just how important her fashion contribution was at that time.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Alicia Silverstone’s Cher is the most memorable character in terms of costume for a selection or wacky mix and match, retro-inspired outfits that ensured the Beverly Hills ‘it girl’ was as clued-up in style as she was clueless in love.
Yet her most famous costume was relatively ordinary, a white, sixties-inspired shift dress by Calvin Klein. It is this short, simple item that caught the eye of Ilaria Urbinati, co-founder of Confederacy on Hollywood Blvd, prompting a meeting with Klein’s creative director Francisco Costa.
Urbinati to fashion magazine Daily Front Row:
I went into a spazzy explanation of how my formative-years love of Calvin was partly based on the little white Calvin mini dress Alicia Silverstone wears in Clueless. I re-enacted the entire scene for him (you know, ‘Cher, what are you wearing?‘ ‘A dress!‘ ‘Says who?‘ ‘Calvin Klein!‘ ‘Well, go put something over it!‘ ‘Duh, I was just going to!‘ and then she comes out with the clear trench). So of course I said, Francisco, you need to remake that dress.
All it then took was a peek at the dress on YouTube and, just like that, a reproduction of the Clueless Calvin Klein white shift is for sale in limited numbers at Confederacy. Yours for just $916.00, cheap if you say it quick, and also available in Cher’s equally memorable fire engine red.
It is not known if this dress revival will spark further nineties trends to reemerge, but we doubt anyone is holding their breath for bulky pea coats, knee-high socks and opaque tights, in the middle of summer anyway.
© 2010 – 2012, Christopher Laverty.