"This movie [Clueless] is much more of my fantasy of what I sort of would have liked everything to be like — not the way it is. I mean, you don't go to high school and see the the blacks and the whites hanging together, and everybody having enough money for nice clothes. That's not the real world but it would be a nice world." — Amy Heckerling, Clueless director
Naturally they were best friends: they both evoked the envy of their Beverly Hills High classmates and were named after great singers from the past who now did infomercials.
Of equal beauty, social standing, and style, Clueless’ Cher Horowitz and Dionne Davenport were two sides of the same coin, first sashaying across their high school’s campus in near-matching plaid school girl ensembles twenty years ago (the film hit theaters July 19, 1995), creating a stir in pop culture and fashion circles. Leaders of a multicultural crew that reflected an emerging generation, the duo spoke in a new language; they dressed in a new way. However, it was the execution of these looks that would truly distinguish the BFF's. Though neither shied away from making a fashion statement, Cher was always a bit prissier; Dionne, with a little more daring. Daring, that until now, went largely undiscussed.
"Courageous style efforts" is the actual term Cher uses to describe Dionne's brazen approach to color, texture, and concept (see the "Dr. Seuss" hat).
Fashion forward, Dionne ran alongside Cher in red vinyl mini skirts, flight jackets, leopard print blazers, printed crop tops, turbans, and metallic lamé hot shorts, looking unquestionably stylish but not necessarily reading as imitative. That's not to suggest that girls didn't want to dress like her, but more so, they couldn't. Dionne's desire to always stand out established an idiosyncratic look that we're really only understanding now (just look to any Moschino runway collection from the last few seasons for proof).
But as a black teenage girl in Beverly Hills, Dionne was prominent by nature, standing out amongst a sea of white kids. Her splashy choice in clothes and public demands that her longtime love, Murray, stop calling her "woman" seemed to attract positive attention that girls who looked like her rarely received.
In this realization, we finally acknowledge that if Cher reflected the times (1995), then "Miss. Dionne" reflected the future, as in now. So today, we give this unsung style hero her overdue "snaps" with a comprehensive retrospective of every single one of her outfits:
"Nice stems": Baby tee with lace-up knee-high boots for maximum effect
Hollywood poolside glamour: white turban, white platforms, white sunnies, white bikini
Beverly Hills school-girl chic with a dash of Dr. Seuss
Master of the mix: Rasta-inspired beanie with mesh crop top, leopard print pants, and matching leopard baby backpack
Peak '90s: Gonzo top hat, furry cropped sweater, plaid mini, red knee-highs, and patent Mary Janes
Mixed materials: Blue lurex cropped vest paired with a fire-engine red plastic mini skirt, tights, choker, and red patent leather clutch
Black and white pilgrim collared mini dress with a French cuff, paired with (what else?) Mary Janes.
Sporty Spice: White cropped bustier layered over a long-sleeved black tee, paired with high-waisted black shorts and white bandana, replete with white beeper.
Peep the frosty acrylic manicure…
Black flight jacket with matching mini skirt set off by pink striped crop top
Crushed velvet mini dress with pilgrim collar and oversized cuffs, styled with white knee-highs, flat Mary Janes, and black patent purse
Orange flight jacket, printed crop top, high-waisted jeans, and her favorite white beeper
Wide-sleeved floral cropped blouse, high-waisted black skirt, chokers, flip phone, with colorful ribbons entwined in her braids.
Leopard print blazer and matching mini, with a see-through pink blouse for a pop of color
Baby blue baby polo, plaid mini, baby blue headband (super Cam'ron before Cam'ron)
White floral crocheted beanie and oversized off-the-shoulder knit top
Pink crewneck sweater with pink daisy hair barrettes
Neon green sweater set, black and white checkered mini, white barrettes
Disco Queen: Silver lamé hot pants, pink cropped sweater tank, metallic platform heels
A little tenderness: Pink and green deep V-neck dress with floral circle skirt, floral hair accents and matching choker
Images via Paramount Pictures
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.