This week at Fashionista, we're celebrating all things at the intersection of fashion and pop culture — including the nostalgic sartorial moments that were formative to our style growth. In our series, Fashionista's Pop Culture Style Icons, we obsess over the characters who have influenced our wardrobes the most, even to this day.
"Clueless" fashion historians might be quick to tell you that Cher is the powerhouse dresser from the movie/film/apex of cinematic achievement, but they clearly aren't paying close attention. It's Dionne Davenport who deserves the vote for Best Dressed at Bronson Alcott High School.
What Dionne and Cher wear is never that dramatically different, but if the comparison between them were a boxing match, Ms. Davenport lands a knockout punch in the very first round. I mean, Exhibit A through Z is right there in the pair's first scene together: Dionne jumps into Cher's jeep and they're both wearing plaid. But Dionne is wearing a hat that makes her look like she's just inherited Dr. Seuss's fortune and is giving the brand a much needed makeover.
This is a recurring pattern throughout the movie that can't be denied. Yeah, Cher does a decent job of spicing up her black-and-white gym class look, but Dionne pulls together a white bustier, a white beeper and a white bandana. Jeremy Scott has been trying to reappropriate this look for the runway since he first laid his eyes on it.
I could go on, but it gets mean fast! The reason Dionne is great is because she isn't afraid to take risks and is always dressed to the max, no matter the occasion. This is a woman who wore silver metallic platform heels and hot pants to a Pismo Beach Disaster Relief event. If she isn't your icon then we're just fundamentally different people. Dionne inspired a high-school version of me to show up to track meets in Bebe Sport and use a Quinceañera dress for my sorority induction.
It also can't be ignored how frequently she used her hair to make fashion statements. There was always something to complete a look: barrettes, flowers, ribbons, or a headband. Even seeing boxer braids represented on screen was revolutionary in 1995. And as a black girl growing up in predominately white Orange County, that representation was important to me. There's no one else who could pull off so much cheetah, such good hair and a repertoire of hats that puts Pharrell to shame.
Yes, Stacey Dash is trying to steal this precious character from me, but I can't let her. Dionne and I have too much in common. We both have fashion-conscious boyfriends who do stupid things with their hair, we both can't drive, and yet we're still living (or at least trying to!) our best lives.
In my dream world, the Dionne of 2017 has taken out the nose ring, snagged a clutch job in fashion and traded in her preppy lewks for pantsuits.
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