1990s Fashion


Aberdeen Art Gallery is delighted to be hosting the 'Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous' exhibition which celebrates her fashion designs from the 1960s to the present day.

In this final article celebrating decades in fashion, I would like to share some highlights from the Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums 1990s costume collection.


1990s wedding dress

Wedding dress, 1991

This wedding dress was worn in July 1991 at St. Mary's Church on Kings Street in Aberdeen. It is a transitional piece between 1980s and 1990s fashions and has strong stylistic features from the previous decade, such as multiple flounces, multi-layered underskirts and puffy sleeves,


Marks and Spencer suits 1994

Marks & Spencer suits, 1994

Tailored trouser suits were popular business wear for women in the 1990s as power dressing continued from the previous decade. This beige women’s suit is similar in style to the darker men’s suit and both are from the Marks and Spencer Spring 1994 range.


1990s Clarks slingback shoes

Clarks slingback shoes, early 1990s

This style of shoe is called a slingback because it has an open back with a single strap around the back of the ankle to hold it in place. These shoes are made from nubuck which is produced by sanding the outer surface of top-grade cattle leather giving a velvet-like surface.


1990s Laura Ashley Dress

Laura Ashley dress, 1990s

As the 1990s progressed, fashion tended to be more minimalist than in the previous decade. This Laura Ashley tartan and lace dress has an understated white lace V-neck crossover front and narrow sleeves with one button fastening at the wrist. The shoulder pads are much smaller than those worn in the 1980s.


1990s Leather Jacket and Skirt

Leather jacket and skirt, 1990s

Bright colours regained popularity later in the 1990s as shown in this bright red leather jacket and skirt. This style of jacket is called a blouson with a tight waistband with fabric hanging loosely over the top. The skirt fastens with a long red plastic zip down the front leaving a short split.


Next Child Party Dress 1999

Next child’s party dress, 1999

Also in a rich shade of red, this child’s party dress is decorated with a red chiffon overskirt with metallic lurex polka dots. It was purchased from Next and worn to a Christmas party and also to a pantomime in Aberdeen.


“Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous” is now on at Aberdeen Art Gallery (entry: £9; Concessions £7; Friends of AAGM £4.50; under 12s free). This must-see exhibition is the largest ever show dedicated to British design legend Dame Zandra Rhodes, and explores 50 years of a fascinatingly varied career, presenting influential looks, original textiles and archive material. At 81, she continues to be a revolutionary force in fashion.