Madchester was dying out, the New Kids on the Block broke up and grunge was quickly becoming a tangible commodity of cool. The heroin eyes of dishevelled baby-doll girls were dilating as ecstasy flooded the party scene. Everything was changing. The music, fashion and media were inciting change through commoditized sex, celebrity obsession and the internet’s pilot light flickered in anticipation for the first time. It was our Renaissance and here’s ten reasons why.
Kate Moss and Corinne Day
One the most iconic images of the 90s saw Kate Moss and Vogue fashion editor Corinne Day come together in Day's flat in Soho. They created a cover which caught the zeitgeist and ushered in an era of anti-fashion style that defined a generation; grunge and heroin chic. Editor of Cosmopolitan, Marcelle D’Argy Smith, branded them as “hideous and tragic,” believing that only paedophiles would find them beautiful.
Michael Jackson and Jordan Chandler
Accusations of creepy clandestine sleepovers with prepubescent boys getting turnt-up on jesus juice took the King of Pop’s fairytale world of Neverlandery and turned it into a grimy sex-pit where a search warrant revealed albums of naked boys allegedly wasted on sodium amytal, a truth serum from the fifties.
Mulder and Scully
Until the 90s, women of the genre were generally supplemental, pretty sidekicks who chirped-off sassy one-liners. The X-files pilot in 1993 equalised the dominant patriarchal ideology with a fiery redhead named Scully. A symbiotic folie à deux offered up a balancing act between the delusions of Mulder and the rationale of Scully, who became the 90s unofficial “ultimate-feminist”.
Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
No one embodies the 90s more than Kurt and Courtney. Kurt took Seattle grunge and served it up in a digestible heart shaped box for a generation of stoners and disenchanted inheritance kids. Combine Courtney Love, a mutual fondness for heroin and an intensely tragic love affair, and you have one of history’s most beautiful failures.
Tommy Oliver and Kimberly Hart, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Kim was into gymnastics, Tommy was into martial arts, and Zordon, the inter-dimensional alien wizard who brought them together was really into teenagers and Lycra onesies. It started with a kiss in a park, blossomed when she fell off a balance beam and ended when she gave up crime fighting to compete in a gymnastics tournament, oh and Tommy became white.
Dylan McKay and Brenda Walsh
He was the bad-boy who preferred blondes. She was the borderline sociopath who dyed her hair orange to get his attention. They blossomed together as 90210’s cool kids. The grown-up relationship lasted two years and saw the couple deal with date-rape, drugs and Donna’s obsession with terry cloth headbands.
Madonna and controversy
Erotica (1992) had just been released. Her film Body of Evidence (1993) had been universally panned and her foray into porn-art had long been seared into our brains. Perhaps the world’s greatest publicity machine, Madge continued to shock with simulated orgies, digits diving into crotches and whipping dancers with crops, but it was probably rubbing Puerto Rico's national flag on her lady-bits that we most remember.
Johnny Depp and everyone
The notches on the legendary lothario’s bedpost got deep in the 90s. Winona wasn’t forever. Juliette Lewis left him in Kalifornia and Ellen Barkin loathed him in Las Vegas. It was a productive year: within twelve months he’d divorced his wife, dated a bunch models and left a trail of booty behind him that even Jack Sparrow would be ashamed of.
Lex Murphy and stupidity, Jurassic Park
We tolerated her judgmental superiority, we looked passed her vegetarianism and dietary proselytising, but she’ll never be forgiven for waving around that bloody flashlight to get the attention of an escaped T-rex. It gave us one of least dignified deaths in film to date; a lawyer being devoured by a dinosaur while hiding in an outdoor toilet. Yep, well done Lex.
Darla Marks and bullying, Dazed & Confused
Queen of the Indies, Parker Posey, in her first major role showed us exactly what a high school mole looked like and became the bully of a generation. She was a cool, gum-slapping hard-ass and responsible for 90s bitch gold like “Wipe that face off your head, bitch.”