Girls rule. But in a pop culture world saturated with straight white men and Spider-Man remakes, asserting yourself as an icon not solely defined by your cup size or tragic backstory can be difficult – but not impossible. From ball-and-chain wielding schoolgirls and hunted bounty hunters to ennui queens, here’s Dazed’s pre-Comic Con list of cult girls who have influenced the looks of generations.
TANK GIRL – TANK GIRL
Spending her time living in a tank in post-apocalyptic Australia, dating a mutant kangaroo and consuming copious amounts of beer, pop culture’s quintessential punk-rock deviant Rebecca Buck quickly became the aesthetic dream of any aspiring punk girl with a penchant for hair dye and anarchy. Her completely haphazard style of ripped-up fishnets, torpedo bras, bullseyes and nipple tape, devised by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett, is the epitome of not giving a damn about your bad reputation while still looking (quite literally) killer.
AUDREY HORNE – TWIN PEAKS
“I get what I want,” said Twin Peaks’ resident femme fatale and spoilt little rich girl between puffs of her cigarettes, pioneering the saddle-shoe, buffalo checkered skirt and cropped sweater combo, combined with a deconstructed bob and killer eyebrows in the eerie universe devised by David Lynch. With a masochistic hint and no holding back on her sensual demeanor to seduce the unassuming Agent Cooper, Sherilyn Fenn’s character left girls and boys either wanting to be with her or be her.
BUFFY SUMMERS – BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Oh, the 90s. A time of tattoo chokers, paisley bandanas, ill-fitting leather jackets and a few dubious fashion decisions. Everyone’s favourite slayer nailed (staked?) the look of a stylish teen who just happens to spend her spare time destroying vampires – and still kept it accessible in her “sensible, yet reasonably priced boots”. Sarah Michelle Gellar gave reason for teens all over the world to get multiple ear piercings and wear OTT hairclips, as well as offering a true lesson in girl power: you can kick ass and still look cute.
AGENT DANA SCULLY – THE X-FILES
Hunting top-secret extraterrestrials with the FBI may be a man’s world, but with oversized coats, practical suits and shoulderpads, The X-Files’ Agent Dana Scully twisted the rules of menswear in her favour. With a concerned look and the ever iconic “Mulder, it’s me,” her carefully careless ‘don’t underestimate me’ style marked her as an icon of female power and die-hard logic (in opposition to Mulder’s willingness to believe).
DARIA MORGENDORFFER – DARIA
Daria, the animated queen of sarcasm with a hatred for popularity became a beacon of hope for any girl feeling like an outcast in high school. With her round thick-rimmed glasses, green jacket and combat boots marking her out against a sea of cheerleader outfits and baby pink crop tops, she mused about superficiality to her equally stylish, multiple-ear-pierced BFF Jane Lane. Unlike sister Quinn, president of the fashion club, Daria’s look was all about anti-statement style.
ENID COLESLAW – GHOST WORLD
As far as learning to be an adult goes, classic comic book-turned-film protagonist Enid Coleslaw has a pretty spot-on perspective: a lot of sarcasm, complaining, hair dye and contemplation of lesbianism. Rocking green hair and an “original 1977 punk-rock look” while hanging out with Steve Buscemi’s lonely character, Seymour, the Ghost World protagonist is an embodiment of young-adult ennui and the ultimate anti-manic pixie dream girl with a hatred for “extroverted, obnoxious, pseudo-bohemian losers.” Preach.
LEELOO – THE FIFTH ELEMENT
With Jean Paul Gaultier as the costume designer of a sci-fi film, it is clear that iconic looks will emerge. With her cyber-cute orange straps over beige trousers and tangled orange hair, everyone’s favourite human-looking character played by Milla Jovovich (a great choice of human to look like) conquered hearts with her unique mix of naivity and fierceness – and was one of the first heroines to popularise bright hairstyles that continue to be an inspiration to this day. Just take a look at Jitrois’ AW15 collection.
STORM – X-MEN
Descending from an ancient line of African priestesses with white hair and blue eyes, and the daughter of a princess moved to Manhattan, Storm is the ultimate leather-and-latex clad badass. Considered a goddess before a mutant and a weather manipulator, she rocked the world of X-Men with poise and power, taking the lead after the departure of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Iconic looks include her 80s-style white mohawk-and-bondage-belt combo, and the head-to-toe leather catsuit sported by Halle Berry in the movie adaptations.
GOGO YUBARI – KILL BILL
“Seventeen-year-old Gogo Yubari. Gogo may be young, but what she lacks in age, she makes up for in madness,” said Beatrix Kiddo in the classic Kill Bill series. Bearing a schoolgirl outfit and her iconic weapon, the Meteor Hammer, her appearance as the bodyguard of Lucy Liu’s character O-Ren is brief, but has stayed in the minds of many. As a character, she completely subverts the cutesy Japanese schoolgirl fantasy present in the imaginary of so many with her keenness for violent murder – leading the way for many deadly feminine girls after her.
NANA OSAKI – NANA
An unsung hero of Japanese comic book protagonists, Nana Osaki starts as a popular punk singer in her hometown with her band BLAST, standing independently from her bass-player (and Sid Vicious lookalike) boyfriend, and living in a flatshare with her namesake dainty antithesis, Nana Komatsu. She might not be a magical girl, but Ai Yazawa’s character sports Vivienne Westwood like it’s nobody’s business, and represents a streak of punk Japanese girls – clad in tartan, collars and safety pins – who respond to nothing but their own ambition.
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