by Danica Lo
Getty Images The first time I ever saw Unzipped--that seminal fashion documentary all about Isaac Mizrahi's fall 1994 season--it was 1995, I was a freshman in college, pretending to be pre-med, and it was the first time, in all my years of hoarding fashion pages from The New York Times Magazine and catching episodes of House of Style on MTV here and there, that I really felt and could visualize the nearly tangible excitement and energy of the fashion industry in the '90s.
And while, later on, I was lucky enough to be a fashion student in London in the early-2000s--those Nag Nag Nag and electroclash years where you'd go to a basement club once a week and rub elbows with Boy George or walk to the local pub on Sunday night and wind up having a pint next to Alexander McQueen--nothing has really ever lived up to the legendary '90s of my imagination. It was, after all, the decade when supermodels ruled the runways and New York designers like Mizrahi, Helmut Lang, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein were the be-all-end-all.
My entire professional life, I've wished for the '90s back again. But, according to Claudia Schiffer, it's all wishful thinking.
"There were a lot more personalities in the '90s--wonderfully creative, no boundaries, that Isabella Blow craziness," the supermodel said in a recent interview. "The flair of the '90s is missing now.
"The difference is that today it's very professional, people don't want to waste time and are always thinking about the budget," she says. "Back then, it was more theatrical, there was champagne everywhere, everyone hung out. On shoots, someone would open a bottle of red wine at lunch."
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As for the death of the era of the supermodel, Schiffer is very matter-of-fact.
"We dominated because it was all about fashion models then," she says. "Actors and singers weren't in campaigns or on the covers of fashion magazines. I do think girls are coming through, but there's so much more competition these days and so many more collections. A model can be successful for two seasons and then gone."
Sigh. I guess I'll just go watch Unzipped again.