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How Have the Fashion Brands of 'Clueless' Fared Since 1995?

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Here at Racked, we're dedicating this week to the kind of fantastical shopping that most of us only get to experience in dreams (or at 80%-off sample sales, which are generally somewhat less than posh.) Taking a page from casino parlance, we'll be talking a lot about "whales," those big spenders who feel perfectly comfortable dropping tens of thousands of dollars every night on roulette, or, in our case, on Cartier. Welcome to Whale Week 2013.


Image via IMDB

Cher Horowitz of life bible teen movie Clueless fame is responsible for a lot of things we do: Admiring our friend's fashion risks even if it looks like they went shopping with Dr. Suess, for example. Or using "sporadically" in a sentence. But perhaps our biggest takeaway from the film was the big brand knowledge bombs she dropped on us sporadically (see?) at a time in our lives when we were pretty clueless about what was out there. But what have the brands of Cher's high school wardrobe been up to since 1995? Was the peak of their career a cameo in the movie, or have they continued spreading shopping love to the Cher Horowitz's of today? After the jump, we explore Calvin Klein, Fred Segal, Alaïa, and more in this edition of Where Are They Now.


This whole video is kind of magical, but the specific magic we're referring to happens around second 19

Azzedine Alaïa
Alaïa was an insider's designer in the '80s and '90s and never really marketed his product, so it's fair that Cher's mugger had never heard of the brand. 18 years later, the man still manages to avoid industry mainstays like advertising, a Twitter account, and even a website. But the brand will reportedly open a Paris flagship in March (it will be his first new shop since his New York boutique shuttered in 1992), and he just signed a fragrance deal with Beauté Prestige International. Note to muggers everywhere.

Fred Segal
You can feel Cher's panic when she shrieks, "Lucy! Where's my white collarless shirt from Fred Segal?" We get it. It's her most responsible looking ensemble. But Fred started out as an all-jeans all-the-time store in the '60s and then rose in hype in '85 when it became the high-end retailer of Santa Monica. It stayed popular for more than three decades and grew to include beauty, salons, jewelry, and restaurants.

After Sandow Media bought the SoCal staple in May 2012, it announced that the brand will be expanding to Manhattan, Las Vegas, Europe, and Asia, beginning this year. But on the interwebs, Fred hasn't made much headway: The site doesn't have e-commerce yet but there is an option to sign up for an e-mail newsletter (they are, however, very active on Twitter).

Calvin Klein
Things were a lot different for Calvin in the '90s. He won the CFDA Designer of the Year award in 1993, he was married to a woman named Kelly, and he was the final word on what makes a dress a dress according to Cher. Now, Klein's former 22-year old boyfriend makes headlines more often than he does.

However, Calvin Klein, the internationally regarded high-end brand (as if Cher would wear the lower-end diffusions), is chugging along. It became Calvin Klein Collections after Phillips Van Heusen bought it back in 2002, along with several other Calvin Klein brands. Italo Zucchelli became head designer of the menswear side in 2004 and won the CFDA Award for his efforts in 2009. And former Gucci designer, Francisco Costa is now the head creative director for Calvin Klein women's wear. Last October, Calvin Klein Collections, jeans, and underwear were united into one, gigantic brand poised for world domination.

Bonus fact: It's hard to tell whether Marky Mark or Calvin Klein benefited more in terms of good brand karma from the Marky Mark for Calvin Klein underwear ads, but the campaigns were special enough to get a Clueless shout-out:

Josh: We might get Marky Mark to plant a celebrity tree.
Cher: Oh how fabulous. Getting Marky Mark to take time from his busy pants dropping schedule to plant trees.
Mark Wahlberg hasn't done an underwear ad in a very long time, but he did just create a "nutritional formula" range.

Boulmiche
Cher flashes a shopping bag from Boulmiche in the first of several mall scenes, that one where Dionne asks, "Dude, what's wrong? You suffering from buyer's remorse or something?" and Cher, upset over Mr. Hall's refusal to change her debate grade, is all, "God no, nothing like that." In the face of such adversity, Cher took shelter in the mall to "gather my thoughts and regain my strength." That mall was the The Westside Pavilion, according to IMDB, but Boulmiches was just a short Jeep drive away on Rodeo Drive in 1995, before it moved elsewhere in Beverly Hills in 2010. It retains its reputation for being really, really expensive.

These days, Boulmiche doesn't have e-commerce, but it does have an entire page dedicated to its less-than-favorable cameo in Pretty Woman five years before Clueless. The site makes sure to point out that their staff is much friendlier than portrayed in the film, and they've "kept thriving throughout culture and time by notable celebrities and supportive fans alike with iconic appearances in classic films and every day life." But honestly, Cher is probably the best celebrity face of any brand, now and forever.


The LA city bus driver, for taking a chance on an unknown kid

Birkenstock
Travis, the skateboarding stoner who ultimately lands as Tai's love interest, has a surname and it is...Birkenstock. The brand has almost always marked its wearer with the granola-chewing, pot-smoking, tree-loving stereotype, but it experienced a resurgence in the early '90s, probably as a reaction to '80s excess. Today, the brand is alive and well, and occasionally makes it into national mags like Elle or Lucky, at least according to the press page, and they're sometimes vocal on social networks. Example: Birkenstock's last tweet wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving and linked to this Facebook picture of a puppy asleep on a sandal.

Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany should have a Clueless credit as a walk-on character, considering almost every shopping scene features Cher carrying the brand's signature blue bag, the storefront acts as background at least once, and Amber is shown donating Tiffany baubles to Cher's philanthropy cause. Because people who lost everything in the Pismo Beach disaster need graduation gifts, too.

Tiffanys has broadened their mass appeal since the early '90s with more affordable options, like the ubiquitous Elsa Peretti heart necklace. (Also, they just re-upped their license with the designer for another 20 years, so that tactic should continue for some time.) And in the very near future, they are bedecking Carey Mulligan and the rest of the cast of in The Great Gatsby in the remake coming out this summer. We have a feeling that would make Cher proud, even if Mel Gibson is not slated to make an appearance.

· What Are Our Beloved Beauty Brands of the '90s Up to Now? [Racked]
· Clueless Turns 17! The Movie's Fashion Legacy Plus a List of 8 More '90s Fashion Gems To Add to Your Netflix Queue [Racked]
· All Whale Week coverage [Racked]