From the "Rachel" to the Wonderbra, Was 1994 the Best Style Year Ever?
When you close your eyes and think of '90s fashion, chances are you are picturing something from 1994: a killer black dress held together by safety pins, dark red lips and nails, and Jennifer Aniston’s iconic Friends haircut.
Okay, we admit we might be a little biased—after all, 1994 was the year a little magazine named InStyle launched—but in the 12 months that brought the world Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano, supermodels baring it all for PETA, and multiple Grammy love for Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” (hereafter the soundtrack for just about every romantic moment in life) we’re pretty sure 1994 has stood the test of time.
So what else made 1994 so great? Click through our gallery for a look back at the year’s best style and pop culture moments.
Elizabeth Hurley's Safety Pin Dress
When she accompanied then-boyfriend Hugh Grant to the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere, the previously relatively-unknown Elizabeth Hurley created a fervor in a black Versace number held together by several oversized gold safety pins. "This dress is the fashion equivalent of the shot heard around the world,” says Hal Rubenstein, former InStyle fashion director. “One dress made this woman world famous.”
Rupaul Became the Face of MAC
MAC’s burgundy red Viva Glam Lipstick was introduced to raise money for the M·A·C AIDS Fund. Since then, Sir Elton John, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and others have modeled for Viva Glam.
"The Rachel" Started a Hair Frenzy
When Jennifer Aniston first starred in Friends in 1994, her "Rachel" haircut ignited a hair revolution. Suddenly her choppy, layered locks became one of the most coveted and adored hairstyles.
Vamp is the Color of the Year
The new sassy, sexy ruby red Vamp nail polish was everywhere. And the Chanel shade is really unforgettable on Uma Thurman in the 1994 hit film Pulp Fiction.
John Travolta is Cool Again
Speaking of Pulp Fiction, John Travolta had a major career comeback in the Quentin Tarantino flick playing Vincent Vega, dancing the twist and earning an Oscar nomination.
The Bra Came Out From Hiding
Sassy Sarahs (as in Jessica Parker and Michelle Gellar) got away with wearing nothing on top but a bra. And somehow, the look caught on.
MY SO-CALLED LIFE Debuts
Claire Danes starred as Angela Chase in the short-lived TV teen drama, which earned her an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe. And Jared Leto, who played Jordan Catalano, gave viewers a reason to swoon.
High Fashion Got Its Close-Up
The fashion documentary, Unzipped, was filmed as it followed designer Isaac Mizrahi’s planning and showing his 1994 fall collection. The era’s hottest supermodels appeared in the film.
WE ALL FELL IN LOVE WITH WHITNEY HOUSTON
Whitney Houston’s recording of the song “I Will Always Love You,” which was written by Dolly Parton in the 1970s, earned her superstar status and a slew of Grammys in 1994.
WINONA RYDER ROCKED REALITY BITES
Famously known as an anthem to the Gen-X culture and style, the film Reality Bites became a classic starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, and Ben Stiller (who also directed the film.)
BOBBI BROWN LAUNCHED A BEAUTY EMPIRE
A relatively unknown makeup artist appeared on Oprah and the Today show, making sales from her cosmetic company go through the roof. From there, the Bobbi Brown Essentials line went international.
GEORGE CLOONEY BECAME A HUNK
ER, an NBC TV medical drama, became the stuff of water cooler conversation. Meanwhile, a young doctor, Douglas "Doug" Ross, M.D., was played by a relatively unknown George Clooney.
MTV’S FIRST SHOCKING KISS
When Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson famously kissed at the MTV Video Music Awards, it caused a frenzy. The couple had secretly married in the Dominican Republic that same year.
SUPERMODELS SAID NO TO FUR
The animal activist organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), got Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell to pose naked on billboards with the slogan "I’d Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur."
PRINCESS DIANA MADE THE ULTIMATE STYLE STATEMENT
The late Princess Diana wore her "revenge" dress, the same day her ex-husband, Prince Charles, admitted to extramarital infidelities. The black satin number later sold at auction for $74,000.
WE SAID FAREWELL TO JACKIE O
At just 64, the beloved former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died from cancer. Known for her quiet strength and iconic style, Jackie O had a special knack for wearing pill box hats and big sunglasses.
MAKEUP ARTIST KEVYN AUCOIN BECAME A STAR
Few makeup artists become household names like Kevyn Aucoin. His The Art of Makeup book was a best-seller, while his celebrity following included Madonna, Susan Sarandon, and Demi Moore.
THE WONDERBRA LIFTED US UP
The Wonderbra and the Super-Uplift, which offered sudden cleavage without implants, made it big! Considered modern miracles, these push-up bras began to account for 10 percent of the bra market.
CALVIN’S UNISEX SCENT
Calvin Klein’s popular fragrance CK One landed on the scene and spurred a buzz for the unisex scent. If that wasn’t enough, the sexy black and white ads starred Kate Moss and Marky Mark (aka Mark Wahlberg).
AND FINALLY ... A LITTLE MAGAZINE NAMED INSTYLE WAS BORN!
The cover of the June, 1994 debut issue featured Barbra Streisand. The superstar invited readers into her Malibu enclave. John Travolta, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Fisher also appeared in the 128-page publication.