“Fashion usually is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” sniped Oscar Wilde. Things have speeded up since the 19th century, Oscar. As you will see in our annual Best & Worst Dressed special issue, this past year styles seemed to come and go every week. In the process, some celebrities—those folks who set the trends and mirror the modes of the moment—wobbled to the brink of the fashion abyss in ’70s retro platform shoes, while others clumped bravely to the cutting edge in their industrial-strength Doc Martens.
In Hollywood and New York City, and even Washington, it was a year of dressing dangerously. Grunge came and went from the couturier runways of Ana Sui and Marc Jacobs like greased lightning, and hemlines went up and down faster than the window shades at Heidi Fleiss’ house. The concern over AIDS poked holes in clothes as well as in attitudes. The message of many see-through garments (page 118) seemed to be “Look, but don’t touch.” Cross-dressing had its moment too: Drag singer RuPaul did a great Diana Ross impression on his album cover, and Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis (page 109) turned up in a skirt. On the screen, The Age of Innocence inspired lavish Edwardian formality, and Julia Roberts and Shannen Doherty dressed way down—both got married barefoot.
The Clintons had a bad hair year: Hillary got clipped repeatedly, and Bill crash-landed on an LA. runway. The First Lady tried on almost every style in the spectrum (page 158), and the President wore his pants too long and sported scruffy jogging garb. Both of them now seem to be on the right track.
Amid the mess, some traditions held fast. The class of Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan continued to drape many stars, but hipper Hollywood went for basic black: The power-lunch crowd at Spago resembled a convention of funeral directors.
Everywhere, some did it right, while a bunch only thought they did. And so we present our choices for the 10 Best and 10 Worst Dressed People of 1993. Among the worst: Daryl Hannah fumbled and flubbed the fashions; Burt Reynolds lost Loni, his mustache and his style sense. Among the Best, some did it with class, like Joan Rivers and dapper Secretary of State Warren Christopher; and some did it with sass, including Wesley Snipes and Sharon Stone. As for style, “I don’t think it means following a trend,” says Stone. “That’s fashion. Style is a personal statement.” If so, many stars had trouble getting their messages across this year.