Colleen Hill Interview: The Museum Curator Obsessive about ’90s Trend

Images by Eileen Costa

“I’ve at all times beloved ’90s trend; I’ve been shopping for my dream wardrobe slowly, now that I can afford the items I couldn’t at the moment.”

Museum curator Colleen Hill loves ’90s trend a lot that she wrote a e book about Tom Ford, John Galliano and different stars of the interval.

What are your earliest trend reminiscences?

“I recall that the preschool I attended in Lansing, Michigan, the place I grew up, had a dress-up room with stunning stained glass home windows, and it was stuffed with jewel-toned chiffon scarves I used to be actually concerned about. One other standout second was seeing the duvet of an ABBA album — I beloved their platform boots. (I nonetheless do!) And one thing that influenced each my model and my profession was a e book known as Radical Rags: Fashions of the Sixties by Joel Lobenthal. I discovered it on the native library after I was about 10 years outdated. The quilt has an ideal {photograph} of Lauren Hutton carrying a transparent vinyl Betsey Johnson mini-dress with decals caught on it, and the backbone of the e book is shiny pink. My younger self was actually drawn to it. I checked it out of the library many, many occasions, and from that time on, I at all times wished to decorate prefer it was the ’60s. I went to thrift outlets and made my very own garments and ultimately segued into turning into a trend historian.”

Images courtesy of Colleen Hill

How did you land on the subject of your newest e book, Reinvention & Restlessness: Trend within the Nineties?

“I’ve at all times beloved ’90s trend; I’ve been shopping for my dream wardrobe slowly, now that I can afford the items I couldn’t at the moment. And I’ve additionally been very concerned about how FIT college students have been dressing prefer it’s the ’90s for a variety of years now. The advantage of working at a design faculty is that the scholars are fashion-forward — you at all times know what the following developments shall be earlier than different individuals. And we’ve been getting plenty of donations of nice garments from that period. It’s on the level the place lots of people who’ve nice Jean Paul Gaultier items, for instance, are able to half with them after having had them of their closets for just a few many years. And increasingly more of those items might be discovered on websites like 1stDibs, for individuals who can afford and are concerned about them. I used to be additionally concerned about revisiting the last decade. There are just a few texts by Caroline Evans, Rebecca Arnold and Teri Agins that take a look at ’90s trend across the finish of the last decade or within the early aughts. I wished to construct on these and take a look at it — in addition to matters like cultural appropriation, which wasn’t known as that on the time — via a recent lens and study the important thing moments within the many developments that had been occurring.”

Who’re a few of your favorite up to date designers?

“Stella Jean is considered one of them. Her work has a vibrancy and color that I’ve beloved since childhood, however I feel it’s actually difficult to steadiness that with one thing that additionally appears to be like actually stylish and wearable; she excels at that. I’ve at all times thought that Pierpaolo Piccioli’s work is outstanding. I really like Phillip Lim for my very own wardrobe. He actually understands easy methods to flatter the form of any girl’s physique; I’m 5 foot 4 and I at all times discover his items flattering. I even have items of his that I’ve had for a minimum of a decade, and so they nonetheless look nice. After which there’s Mimi Prober, a New York-based designer who usually works with scraps of discovered materials courting anyplace from the 18th century to the early twentieth century. There’s lots of outdated lace, for instance, and she or he makes use of plenty of natural-dye methods. That is how she has at all times labored; it’s not trend-driven.”

Images courtesy of Stella Jean

What’s your ’90s “grail” buy?

“A beautiful Azzedine Alaïa leopard-print bike jacket from 1991. We’ve the gingham model within the museum assortment, which can be nice. It’s humorous, although, as a result of I do are likely to draw back from shopping for classic issues that would or ought to be in a museum assortment. For me, it’s extra about preservation than private put on, because of my career.”

What’s your most prized piece in your closet?

“A Nineteen Thirties black velvet capelet with gold embroidery that I purchased on Etsy about 5 years in the past. I bought it to put on to the opening of an exhibition I curated known as Fairy Story Trend — my favorite of the exhibitions I’ve achieved to this point. I actually laboured over what to put on to this opening; I didn’t need it to be actually apparent, however it wanted to be on theme. I’ll have it endlessly — I’ve solely worn it that one time, however I’ll put on it once more.”

Did you make any purchases of be aware throughout Covid?

“I purchased one actually particular factor: a collector’s print Alexander McQueen scarf. One of many issues I’m specializing in in my PhD is cupboards of curiosities and the way that concept might be translated right into a trend exhibition. I had no thought how lengthy the headband could be accessible, and it’s huge. I ended up utilizing it as a video-call backdrop in my residence. I don’t actually have plans to put on it a lot as to show it within the exhibition and have it as a memento of my analysis.”

Click on via for a few of Colleen Hill’s favorite labels from the ’90s:

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