Style Setters: 1974-1994
"It was what was going on then. It was downtown, SoHo—what a certain type of woman was wearing on the street," Keaton described her intriguing Annie Hall look. Keaton was wrong. The men's vests and oversize pants she popularized in Woody Allen's Oscar-winning film were pure Keaton, and the style is still going strong. "Annie Hall is the model for how we dress in the last quarter of the 20th century," says Richard Martin, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. "Tradition is prized; precise sizing is not. It is the basic template for Ralph Lauren and the Gap."
The 39th President brought jeans to the workplace. "His informal, relaxed style contributed to the success of the Camp David accords," recalls Jody Powell, Carter's press secretary. "It's hard to be inflexible in a T-shirt; he made negotiations easier."
The Angel thought she was merely getting her wings clipped. But when Beverly Hills stylist José Eber made her basic shag messier, "I got calls from women all over the U.S., Europe, even Saudi Arabia, who wanted to get the Farrah hairdo," he remembers. Yet Eber doesn't take sole credit for creating the sensation. Says he: "It was the way Farrah moved her head, the way she ran her fingers through her hair, her natural sex appeal."
The skater's saucy wedge was widely copied when she struck Olympic gold. "I loved the cut; I never let another person do my hair till Suga died in 1990," she says.
Forget Bob Hope specials, Calvin Klein jeans, Princeton and that platonic friendship with Michael Jackson. This pretty baby is known for mainstreaming bushy brows. Who gave Brooke le look? New York City hairstylist Monsieur Marc says, "I jus' tole her not to pluck zem, and zat ees why she became so popular."
Simply put, she made us see red. We even dubbed the bright shade that she popularized Reagan Red. Observes her designer Adolfo: "She made red acceptable for day and night wear. There hadn't been a First Lady with such a fashion impact since Mrs. Kennedy."
LINDA EVANS AND JOAN COLLINS
Together, Dynasty's dueling dames made shoulder pads de rigueur. But Evans takes credit for inspiring the show's designer Nolan Miller. "When Nolan created clothes for me on The Big Valley he had to minimize my big shoulders because the look didn't work for westerns," she says. "When we did Dynasty, he said, 'We can build things on you, and let that Barbara Stanwyck/Joan Crawford look come back!' I have outfits that I could play football in and not get hurt." Pads notwithstanding, TV's archrivals exhibited decidedly different tastes. Says Evans: "Joan had a dramatic, modern look. I tended more toward classic styles."
When fans mimicked his androgynous style, this Boy says that he "felt special." Then again, the singer, who wore earrings and eye shadow at 14, admits, "I was always different from other kids. These things are predestined at birth."
After the glare of Risky Business, the world went wild for Wayfarers. "Tom Cruise is directly responsible for the growth of the sunglass industry," says Ray-Ban's Norman Salik. "I met him once and thanked him. He looked at me like I was crazy."
Flashdance's star sent hearts pirouetting in this slashed sweatshirt, inspired by her own. "In high school I cut out the tight collars of thrift shop sweats," recalls Beals. "I wore one to the set, and director Adrian Lyne said. Let's use it.' "
The crooner "helped validate earrings on men," notes the Fashion Association's Tom Julian. "His earring, his stubble, his black leather jacket are sexy, raw, rugged. He's an updated Marlboro man."
Her over-the-top underwear inspired legions of wannabes. "There she was, in your face and in your living room," says MTV wardrober Jimmy Hanrahan. "And the look was cheap to copy—you could tie a lace rag in your hair for $1.50."
"It's a godsend bandannas became fashionable," says Springsteen's bandmate, who tied one on when he went solo. "Before, I was only comfortable at carnivals."
DON JOHNSON AND PHILIP MICHAEL THOMAS
Miami Vice revolutionized men's fashion. But Don once declared, "There's more to me than a guy in a $3 T-shirt and Versace jacket."
With bright stretch cycling pants peeking out of baggy shorts, the top-ranked player served up the layered look on tennis courts everywhere. "It's expressive, and it gives people a new perspective on the game," he says. "If you stuck me in white clothing, I'd go flip burgers for a living."
Cindy made moles sexy. "As a kid I hated it so much I asked my mom to get it removed," the megamodel once recalled. "She said, 'A mole or a scar?' " Now we call it a beauty mark.
It was the winsome star of TV's Blossom who put pre-teens into thrift shops. "I like wearing clothes that someone else has lived in," she says, "because there's history in them." Blossom's eclectic look also emphasizes that '90s aspiration, personal style. Bialik boils it down to this: "You should just do what you want and not look to anybody else."
The hair was natural, the pearls faux, the modesty contagious. "My pearl sales tripled," says designer Kenneth Jay Lane. Adds Arnold Scaasi: "Women told her they felt better about their gray."
Nirvana's lead singer headlined the ripped jeans and sloppy tops of grunge. Designer Marc Jacobs says, enthusiastically, "It's more of an attitude than a look; it's about the way people put themselves together."
With baggy jeans and hair inscriptions, rap's precocious duo followed the dictates of hip-hop chic. But they also kicked off a craze of their own: rear-to-front dressing. Kids "show up at our concerts" kross-dressed, crows Chris Smith (right). Adds Chris Kelly: "But we wear our clothes backwards even when we're chillin'."