At the height of this nineties regalia craze, what could be more appropriate than Nasir Mazhar’s AW14 collection? Waterfalls, No Scrubs, Creep; everything about it was golden era TLC. We salute T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli with a run-down of the band’s ten most awe-inspiring fashion moments.
COORDINATION IS KEY
If there’s one lesson we took from TLC it’s that the definition of too cool for school is ‘coordinate’. Orange was a frequent match weapon, cast across basketball tees and trackies in “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and styled with primary coloured gym bags in “Baby Baby Baby”. And of course, there were the satin pyjama sets in “Creep” – one of the greatest group coordinates of all time.
ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTION
Condoms could be counted as TLC’s biggest accessory – and those girls were big on accessories. From makeshift eye patches to rubbers plastered all over the girls’ outfits, you could say they were always, always safe. No scrubs, no unsafe sex.
GRAFFITI BEFORE SPROUSE
Way before Marc Jacobs employed Stephen Sprouse to graffiti Louis Vuitton, TLC were tagging their own outfits. At the 1992 Billboard Music Awards they proved that being a style icon not only requires wearing a condom on your face, but neon-spraying your own denim too.
BLING IS BEST WITH WHITE
Silver crystals; snow white. The girls were all about the white bling. Think silver waisted belts, metallic fringing and jewels bedazzling bodices that would make a belly dancer blush.
CROP YOUR TOP
Hey Miley, TLC called and they want their look back. T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli were rarely seen minus a banging 6-pack, laying the foundations for the crop craze we’ve seen crop up everywhere lately from Balenciaga SS13 to high street. And when T-Boz went solo she carried the torch; think halter crops and low slung pants in "Touch Myself".
FLASH YOUR DACKS
Nasir Mazhar knows the cult power of a boxer band; the designer has been pushing that envelope for girls and guys long enough to make us think he grew up on a diet of "Waterfalls" on MTV rotation. TLC taught us that baggy pants should never be worn without your jock band on display – if not for comfort but for branding’s sake.
TRACKIES ARE BETTER BIGGER
If T-Boz was the original tomboy then there’s no doubt TLC kick started the heavy trackpant craze. Tops were either cropped or massively oversized – the latter proving that attitude over curves is what counts when it comes to repelling scrubs. Check out Dazed editor Tim Noake's interview with T-Boz here.
Whether it was Dolce & Gabbana jock bands hanging out from their trackies or TLC emblazoned across colour coordinated fishnet tops, the trio knew how to brand themselves. Heck, last season’s blatant branding at the likes of Alexander Wang and Hood By Air had nothing on TLC’s name-power.
If the "No Scrubs" clip taught us one thing it’s that robotic fashion is best with a hint of bondage. This video must have been on repeat in the Nasir Mazhar studio in prep for AW14; the PVC trackpants, strappy crops and monotone colour palette mirroring his latest collection.
WRAP IT UP
There was always something hanging: waistlines, bling, fringing. In "Waterfalls" we had translucent trackpants topped with sarongs, while the sweatshirt came tied around the waist in "Ain’t Too Proud To Beg". Having said that, anything was good to hang as long as it was below the midriff. Think big plastic dummies, oversized sunglasses, loose belts and plastic letters.
Follow Tempe Nakiska on Twitter here @tempenakiska