Lynn Ban: Why I'm Obsessed With the Nineties

For Lynn Ban, the Nineties was a highly inspired decade in fashion: glamorous, irreverent and sexy. The jewelry designer and fashion archivist started collecting during this time, buying everything from Gucci by Tom Ford and Dior by John Galliano to heaps of Versace.

Though Ban’s vintage archive now spans Sixties, Seventies and Eighties fashion, her Nineties wardrobe is her most precious. “It was fashion the first time around for me,” she says. “I love the craftsmanship and the history.” And in case you were wondering, yes, she still wears all the pieces.

Ban spoke with WWD about her archive, her Nineties fashion heroes and her favorite cultural moments from the decade:

WWD: If you had to sum up the Nineties in one word, what would it be?
Lynn Ban: Fierce.

WWD: Who are some of your fashion heroes from that time?
L.B.: Definitely Gianni Versace. Versace was glamorous, it was flashy, it was fun, it was rock ‘n’ roll and it was sexy. From the beginning, I was a Versace girl.

WWD: You recently shared a couple of Versace tributes on Instagram.
In particular the Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean dress — that was from spring 1991. That dress was so iconic, it was Pop Art, it was the Nineties, but I think what’s so great is that Donatella redid these iconic prints and pieces. Versace’s having a total revival right now.

Lynn Ban: Why I'm Obsessed With the Nineties

Lynn Ban in Versace.  Lynn Ban

WWD: Who are some other designers you were loving in the Nineties?
L.B.: John Galliano, from his own shows to his time at Dior. I even have pieces from when he was at Givenchy briefly before Dior. Alexander McQueen, I have stuff from his very first collection all the way through his career. I have special pieces from when he was at Givenchy Haute Couture that are amazing — a sirène fully beaded mermaid gown. Tom Ford, specifically his first collection for Gucci — the flared pants, satin blouses and horsebit loafer shoes with the chunky heel — and then the Halston tribute with the white jersey dresses with the cutouts and gold sculptural belts. Tom Ford for Gucci, I have bought every collection and then also when he went over to YSL. Chanel — that biker collection. I have that big Chanel everlast belt. It was one of my first purchases where it was such a statement piece, but I wore it all the time. I still pull it out sometimes.

Fashion Women 1996 Fashion Model Kirsty Hume On The Catwalk Wearing Gucci Fashion Women 1996 Fashion Model Kirsty Hume On The Catwalk Wearing Gucci

Gucci by Tom Ford fall 1996.  Ken Towner/ANL/REX/Shutterstock

WWD: What about cultural moments?
Fashion and music were really intertwined. Nightlife in New York, you had places like Palladium, Club USA, The Limelight and Peter Gatien and the Club Kids. It was the age of the supermodels — Christy, Naomi, Linda. For me, that was the Nineties.

WWD: Why do you think the fashion from that time still works today?
Millennials are looking back to how we looked back to the Seventies and the Eighties. For them, that was an excessive, fun time in fashion and in culture. Fashion is about fantasy, and when you look back at that happier time, it’s inspiring.

WWD: What’s a cringeworthy Nineties trend you followed?
L.B.: Acid-wash denim.

WWD: Favorite overall trend?
L.B.: That overt sexiness of Tom Ford and Gucci. Ad campaigns, like with the girl with the G shaved on her. And then with Versace, that overt, va-va-voom sexiness and glamour. I guess just not giving a s—t, being irreverent. Maybe that’s why people are so into the Nineties.

Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington.Versace Autumn Winter Fashion Show, Milan, Italy - Dec 1991

Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington walking at Versace fall 1991.  PAUL MASSEY/REX/Shutterstock