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Past Perfect

Past Perfect: 1997

Past Perfect BY jane gauger 10/21/2016

Sometimes the only way to go forward is to go backward (uh, style-wise, at least—otherwise, bring on those progressive values!). Welcome to Past Perfect, where we take an aesthetic trip through memory lane to shout out the looks, books and other enduring pop culture creations from a particularly notable 12 months. We think it’ll be way more fun than a high school history lesson—but only time will tell.

 

 

CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE:
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

In 1997, J.K Rowling introduced us to to a boy wizard named Harry, his ever loyal BFFs Hermione and Ron, and an enemy so dark he must not be named. The first in the seven-book series kicked off a publishing juggernaut that’s still accio-ing new fans...and eventually brought us Emma Watson, igniter of the dress-over-pants red-carpet trend (and outspoken feminist!). Plus, new J.K. creations are still pulling into platform 9 ¾ today, from the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

 

 

 

CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE: 
THE SPICE GIRLS

So tell us whatcha want, what you really really want. Is it platform shoes?? The concept of girl power didn’t start with the Spice Girls (duh), but they spread their (admittedly fraught) gospel far and wide with their infectious pop and quintessential nineties fashion—who didn’t want to cop that Union Jack dress? This was the year their debut album Spice hit world-domination status. And though no one could have guessed it at the time, it also ushered in the era of Victoria Beckham and her eventual, extremely covetable line of crisp dresses and knockout outerwear.

 

 

 

 

CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE:
NICOLE KIDMAN'S CHRISTIAN DIOR OSCARS GOWN

It’s hard to believe that Nicole wore this John Galliano-designed dress in 1997, since nary an awards season has passed since without images of it being re-published somewhere. It’s also kind of crazy to consider that this fur-trimmed, cheongsam-influenced dress didn’t stoke any controversy—just look to the conversation around Rihanna wearing the heir apparent to Nicole’s Dior. Plus, it wasn’t even weird that Nicole was married to Tom Cruise at the time!

 

 

CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE:
TITANIC

You couldn’t escape the Celine Dion song “My Heart Will Go On” from the Titanic soundtrack if you tried (and tried and tried). Even though Jack couldn’t survive the sinking ship with Rose, something in that love affair lasted: Kate was a one-woman cheering squad when Leo finally won big for The Revenant this year—and Celine stepped out in a Titanic-themed Vetements hoodie this summer, an act for which the internet gave her all the stars.

 

 

 

 

CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE:
LILITH FAIR

A music festival for women by women—that’s the concept that drove Sarah McLachlan to get her sisters in song—like Tracy Chapman, Lisa Loeb, and Fiona Apple—together and hit the road the summer of ‘97. Alas, Lilith only lasted three summers. But Sarah McLachlan hopes a new generation of artists will take up the mantle—and maybe, just maybe, they’re answering the call?! Plus, it’s hard not to view this movement as partially responsible for a certain platform sneaker, high-waisted denim, and crop top silhouette that’s back in full force—look no further than Kylie Jenner for proof.

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