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Fashion Statements

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It was a year unduly influenced by underwear. When Madonna offered her panties to David Letterman on national TV last March, viewers were grossed out, if not surprised. But after Bill Clinton offered a peek at his Skivvies—or at least at his preference for briefs over boxers—on MTV in April (see page 180), the whole country was put in a compromising position. We were, it seemed, one nation under-dressed, with entirely too much liberty for all.

As this annual Best & Worst Dressed special issue illustrates, celebrities are hurtling toward the millennium with their slips showing (page 153), their belly buttons bejeweled (page 144) and their Wonderbras working overtime. “Boy!” squeaked Jerry Seinfeld, surveying the display of flesh at the Golden Globes in January. “There’s so much cleavage in this room!” The Best Dressed of ’94 stood out in the crowd by keeping their heads—and their duds—on straight. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen (page 77) looked like a million bucks in snappy suits, veejay Daisy Fuentes (page 72) tuned in to couture and Boyz II Men (page 64) showed stylish solidarity. Most of the Worst Dressed fell victim to excess: too much grunge for Ethan Hawke (page84), too much chest for the former Prince (page 100), too much of everything for the Arquette family (page 116).

Surprisingly, the fashion models who set the trends on the run-ways were among the most restrained dressers on their own time (page 121). “I don’t even have pierced ears,” says Claudia Schiffer. “Fashion is a certain way of showing respect to people.” Then again, it could be that some of the atrocities she has modeled (remember the dress embroidered with verse from the Koran?) have made her overdose on outré. As comedian Sandra Bernhard quipped, “Unless people start wearing lumber, there’s not much more designers can do.” Or maybe there is. After recycling the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, they just might take another look at the reign of Queen Victoria.