Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

The Spice Girls, Tamagotchis and Disney: the 1990s are back in a big way

The Spice Girls are on tour, Tamagotchis are making a comeback, Doc Martens are in fashion and we've all fallen in love with Keanu Reeves again. Have we travelled back in time?

The Spice Girls in their heyday, from left, Sporty (Melanie Chisholm), Ginger (Geri Halliwell), Baby (Emma Bunton), Scary (Melanie Brown), Posh (Victoria Beckham) in 1996.
The Spice Girls in their heyday, from left, Sporty (Melanie Chisholm), Ginger (Geri Halliwell), Baby (Emma Bunton), Scary (Melanie Brown), Posh (Victoria Beckham) in 1996.

Are we in a time warp? Should I start wearing a scrunchie again? Get a Rachel haircut? Watch Clueless for the 100th time? Pull out the Gameboy?

The 1990s are back, in a big way. Perhaps we’re all secretly hankering for a return to a simpler, pre-social media, pre-smartphone age when we all still bought CDs, read printed newspapers and actually talked to each other – but here are some of the things currently making me feel like I’ve travelled back in time.

Tamagotchis are making a comeback

The new 'Fairy Blue' Tamagotchi 
The new 'Fairy Blue' Tamagotchi

It was an absurd premise, even then. A pocket-sized disk, with a couple of innocuous-looking buttons, that was supposed to act as a replacement for an actual pet? No wonder I always forgot to feed mine.

Nonetheless, Tamagotchis are making a comeback – from July, the 1990s toys will be all set to infuriate a whole new generation of teenagers. This time around, in place of the pixelated black and white “pet” that I struggled to keep alive, the Tamagotchi 2.0 will be colourful, able to go on playdates and get married, and will be linked to a dedicated app. I won’t be investing.

The Spice Girls are touring

Nothing says “the 1990s” like Scary, Sporty, Baby, Posh and Ginger Spice. Girl Power is back on the road this month, as Geri, Mel B, Mel C and Emma B embark on a 13-show tour of Europe and the UK (sans Victoria Beckham, alas). True to form, Mel B is still sporting leopard-print catsuits, while Mel C is rocking a slightly spruced-up athleisure look and Geri has thankfully ditched the Union Jack dress. Unfortunately, the tour has so far been plagued by reports of sound issues and overcrowding – and there is the regrettable fact that Mel B’s facial features seem to have been frozen in place. Still, if they were to come to Dubai, you can be darn sure that I’d be there singing along to Wannabe like my life depended on it.

The world is crushing on Keanu

“Keanu Reeves is too good for this world,” was the headline of a New Yorker story that ran this week. And the world, it appears, is in agreement. The actor is currently doing the media rounds to promote his latest movie, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and we are all remembering just how much we love him.

A handout movie still showing Keanu Reeves stars as 'John Wick' in JOHN WICK. (Courtesy: Italia Film)
Keanu Reeves stars in John Wick. Courtes: Italia Film

After the New Yorker article ran, people started sharing their real-life “Keanu Stories” – in which he consistently comes across as a sweet, sensitive, all-round great guy. I’ve just watched Destination Wedding, in which Reeves stars alongside Winona Ryder, to create the ultimate stroll down 1990s memory lane. Not since the 1994 release of Speed has it been this cool to be a Keanu fan.

Our favourite Walt Disney films are on the big screen

Those Disney people know a thing or two about the power of nostalgia. The company’s 1992 adaptation of Aladdin, a tale from the classic One Thousand and One Nights, which famously featured Robin Williams as the Genie, holds a special place in the hearts of many Gen Xers. And now the story of everyone’s favourite Agrabah-dwelling-street-rat-turned-prince is back in our cinemas in all its live-action, Will Smith-infused glory. The Lion King has also received a similar update, and is due to be released in July. I, for one, can barely contain my excitement.

This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." Rotten Tomatoes is taking another step to verify that users posting a rating of a movie have actually seen it. The review aggregator says Thursday, May 23, 2019, that users who have purchased tickets on Fandango will get a verified badge next to their review, beginning with films out this weekend like "Booksmart" and "Aladdin." (Disney via AP)
Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic Aladdin. Courtesy Disney via AP

Doc Martens are cool again

I know this because my teenage niece is saving up to buy a pair. More than two-and-a-half decades ago, I did exactly the same thing – carefully pooling my pocket money so I could pick up a pair of eight-eye cherry-red DMs that became my most prized possession. I agonised over whether to get the red ones or the green ones or the black ones, and whether the calf-length ones were cooler than the ankle versions. My niece will have a whole host of other difficult decisions to make – these days, DMs come covered in sequins, graffiti, camouflage print and floral appliques. A cursory look at the catwalks suggests that other 1990s fashion trends are also making a comeback. While I welcome a resurgence of Kate Moss’s “too-cool-to-care” aesthetic, I would suggest that crop tops, overalls and velvet chokers are best left in the annuls of fashion history.

There are familiar faces on the runways

In the 1990s, the likes of Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington became the first supermodels, famously declaring that they wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 (Dh36,000).

Kaia Gerber for Chanel during Paris Fashion Week. Corbis via Getty Images
Kaia Gerber for Chanel during Paris Fashion Week. Corbis via Getty Images

They were mysterious and magnificent and – whether decked in Gianni Versace’s brazen creations or flaunting their fabulousness in George Michael’s Freedom ’90 music video – they represented all of the era’s unashamed excess. Campbell is back to being a regular feature on runways and red carpets, Christensen is making headlines for her risque style choices, and Crawford’s doppelganger daughter Kaia is taking the modelling world by storm, creating an altogether nostalgia-infused fashion landscape.

Updated: June 6, 2019 07:05 PM

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