Fifteen years on from killer teen thriller, Jawbreaker, we thought it apt to chart Rose McGowan’s most iconic fashion moments both on and off screen. As the queen of cult '90s teen movies, there was many a well dressed character to fuel our nostalgia, from Courtney Shayne in Darren Stein's Jawbreaker, to Amy Blue in The Doom Generation, not forgetting Tatum Riley in Wes Craven's teen slasher, Scream…
McGowan played the cold-blooded high school Queen Courtney Shayne in Darren Stein’s Jawbreaker. Following the “Flawless Four” – blessed with both beauty and charisma – what sounds like another dreamy high school chick flick takes a dark and twisted turn when a prank goes dead wrong. Revisiting the locker-clad corridors of Reagan High, we’re nostalgic for floral chokers, Britney-esque bunches and spaghetti strap slip dresses, later accessorised with a set of leg shackles. The only tips you need to be taking from Jawbreaker are fashion ones, of course.
Part of the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy by alt director Gregg Araki, The Doom Generation kicked off Rose McGowan’s career at the 1995 Sundance Festival. The daring role of speed-freak Amy Blue, whose character peddled sexual exploits in seedy motels and violent eroticism gained Rose quite the underground following. Aside from being a twisted teen, Amy had weight as a fashion icon, meaning her perspex cat-eye glasses, today's clunky enamel bangles and clear PVC raincoat à la Miu Miu AW14 are some of the most covetable relics of the 90s.
The story of a cartoonist who finds himself in a weird and wonderful alternate world, Rose plays Down Town’s catwoman bartender, Miss Kitty. She’s the one (and only) style icon in cheap and cheerful clown town with her robo-kitten-in-space dress sense and her Pulp Fiction inspired blunt jet-black bob.
NEARLY-NAKED RED CARPET RENEGADE
So admittedly it was a fashion faux-pas, but it was a gutsy one at that – the moment Rose strut down the red carpet on the arm of then-boyfriend, shock-rocker Marylin Manson, wearing a revealing string dress back in 1998. Roseanne Barr called out her "Laura Ashley-inspired" ensemble on The Roseanne Show: "What was that outfit?!" she shrieked. "It was like a g-string with a little bit of a front." On second thought, can we even call it a dress?
The Black Dahlia is an adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel, based on the notorious 1940s murder case of Elizabeth Short and Rose’s appearance as Elizabeth’s friend and aspiring actress Sheryl Saddon is short but sweet – dressed head-to-toe in ornately embellished Egyptian attire, she remains ever the alluring temptress.
Dying her hair peroxide blonde for the role since producers admitted there was no more space in the cast for a brunette, Rose plays blonde femme fatale Tatum Riley in Wes Craven’s American teen slasher. Once again, she is one of the most popular girls in high school, who comes to an untimely dog-flap induced death. Wearing a lime green polar neck sweatshirt, a psychedelic '60s print skirt and '90s regalia white patent platform boots, she goes out with effortless style.
McGowan made a cameo appearance alongside Shannen Doherty in Gregg Araki’s Nowhere, also part of the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy – another orgy of excess, alcohol abuse and drug addiction. In true gum-chewing American-drawling val-chick style, their off-shoulder dresses are bright-n-tight and there is only one word for their hair – big. Hers is a hairstyle no amount of hairspray could recreate.
Playing a go-go dancer turned weapon-limbed zombie killer in Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 grindhouse flick, Rose’s role as Cherry Darling is far from the realm of reality. From having her leg torn off by rabid Zombies to her seductive dance at gunpoint (not unlike that given by Alice in David Lynch’s Lost Highway ten years former), Cherry is an ultra-sexy badass and her opening credit pole dance wearing a fiery red leather PVC bra and matching tasseled hot-pants had us pick our jaws up off the floor.
McGowan plays Pam in Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 action thriller Death Proof. She’s an intoxicated seductress who hitches a ride home in Mike’s matte black 1971 Chevy Nova after a night at the bar. Mike’s car isn’t so "death proof" when he slams on his breaks to purposefully kill Pam by smashing her head into the windscreen. Despite another unfortunate end, Rose’s sense of style as Pam is second to none with floral hippie dresses, peroxide blonde bangs and a pair of gold hoops.
Trapped in a life of rebellion and therapy, troubled young beauty Debbie Strand becomes infatuated with her high school English teacher, eventually wrecking his home and his marriage. But with her cute crop-tops, hipster skirts, ponytail and apple-a-day offering, looks can certainly be deceiving. If there’s one thing Rose McGowan has taught us, it’s that crop tops will never date.
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