'90s Hip Hop Icons and the Fall 2011 Looks They Could Be Wearing


When people talk about the ’90s being back they think of our recent infatuation with grunge, plaid, and spandex. But with the nods in Fall 2011 collections to utility coats, mannish outerwear, and even pajamas-as-daywear, what’s really back is ’90s hip hop fashion. We’ve paired nine of this fall’s looks with the hip hop divas who might well have inspired them.

En Vogue and Stella McCartney

The funky divas in En Vogue rocked all sorts of looks, from the runway in “Free Your Mind” to the Supremes-esque in “Don’t Let Go,” but the cover of their best-known album captures them in what could easily be a look from Stella McCartney’s Fall 2011 collection.

Mary J. Blige and Lanvin

Mary J. had a lot of looks in the ’90s, evolving from her baseball cap-wearing beginning to a sophisticated diva by the end of the decade. This shot puts us in the mind of Lanvin, who sent a lot of floppy hats and furry jackets down the runway.

Erykah Badu and Junya Watanabe

Badu in the late ’90s was already fashion forward and individualistic. Her signature style at the time was practically a mirror image of the hippie coats Japanese designer Junya Watanabe sent out for 2011. Badu even has the runway-ready makeup already, and we’re digging on her heavy, silver accessories.

TLC and Calvin Klein

Although the colorful hip hop trio and the minimalist fashion brand are not two things that intuitively go together, but with Calvin Klein sending another round of pajama-inspired looks out, one is put instantly in mind of TLC’s pajama styling in the video for “Creep.” The girls rocked that pajama outfit on more than one occasion, however, and this white look from the Grammys is almost as dreamy and skin-exposing at the CK 2011 ensemble.

Lauryn Hill and Marios Schwab

Ms. Lauryn Hill also wore a lot of looks. In her earlier Fugees days, she often opted for baggy cotton outfits, but by the time she went solo in the late ’90s she was bordering on becoming a fashion icon. Every performance saw her in tailored outfits, looking every bit the style maven. Here she could have easily been modeling the latest from London designer Marios Schwab, who created a lot of close to the body, tailored looks for his ready-to-wear collection.

Xscape and LAMB

A big trend for ladies in hip hop was the dress-like-a-man look. In the early ’90s, that meant a lot of thug-style baggy clothes, army fatigues, and wife beaters. Xscape dressed it up here and seem to be taking a page out of Gwen Stefani’s Fall 2011 LAMB ready-to-wear collection, which featured multiple woman in ties with a mix of tight and voluminous pants. They’ve got it right down to the mannish shoes.

Aaliyah and Fendi

Aaliyah wasn’t around long enough to become a fashion icon, but she undoubtedly would have been tapped as the face of a few brands in the 2000s if not for her untimely passing. Other than a few music video moments, her style was plain and skimpy. The moments when she does dress up are so Fendi. Very few labels sent fur down the runway this season, but Fendi were one — and the look nails Aaliyah here, from the sunglasses to the slim pants.

Salt-N-Pepa and Betsey Johnson

It’s really a shame Betsey Johnson didn’t actually dress Salt-N-Pepa in the ’90s. Their aesthetics would have been so complimentary. The ladies often liked to go skimpy, both low-cut on top and short on bottom, and were one of the groups that weren’t afraid to give a nod to what they saw happening in grunge with a bit of plaid, which Betsey is so about. This red plaid look from her Fall 2011 collection is an amalgam of different elements of what both the ladies were wearing in the ’90s.

SWV and Cavalli

While SWV weren’t exactly rocking the Roberto Cavalli look here, with a few updates they easily could be. Just move them on to a more sophisticated but still animal influenced print, keep the tight pants but change the fabric, and lose the matchy-matchy hats and they’re in it.