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Image / Fashion

How vintage celebrities became today’s Instagram fashion icons


By Erin Lindsay
28th Oct 2019
How vintage celebrities became today’s Instagram fashion icons

With the millions of high street-clad ‘influencers’ on Instagram, we’re turning more and more towards vintage icons for our style inspiration


I love Instagram — for all its faults, it’s the ultimate platform for anyone with a creative blip in their body.

For ideas on everything from holidays to fashion, (especially fashion), Instagram reigns supreme. I’d say my number one source of inspiration on how I dress and put together outfits is influenced by (you guessed it) influencers on Instagram. Street style girls and A-list celebrities keep my feed populated with style ideas all day long, providing endless options of pairing this trend with that timeless piece, and vice versa.

But recently, a more seasoned cohort of Insta-influencer has been taking over my feed. The women appearing on my Instafeed are women whose fashion heydays had seemingly been and gone. Today, they are returning with a whole new digital vibe for the 21st century.

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Instagram is heralding the return of original influencers and I couldn’t be more delighted. Nineties supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitiz are popping up on my feed beside Carrie Bradshaw; Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman; the plaid-clad cast of Clueless, and, perhaps most notably, Princess Diana, who has seen a major resurgence as a style icon since the marriage of her two sons, as fans seem to be keen to compare her daughters-in-law style choices to her own. Instagram account Fly Lady Di is a particular favourite:

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But why are we so drawn to these women as modern-day style icons? Granted, they have long-since reached icon status in their own right, but as we moved towards the 21st century, it was assumed that a new range of It-girls would take over, and the ’90s would simply be remembered fondly.

The reason for this, as we all know, is that fashion always repeats itself. The trends that our parents, and even our parent’s parents, were wearing in their youth come around once again. I was born in the 1990s, but even I am on my second cycle of beaded bags and puffer jackets, and it definitely won’t be the last. So, as we are doomed to repeat our love of trends from years gone by, we’re also repeating our love of the women in them.

It’s amusing then, that 2019’s social media users seem shocked at the repetition of style over the years. “Look!” they say. “Cindy Crawford wearing a gingham bralet and oversized gold earrings — just like the ones I have!” The novelty of it all, the fact that we are inundated with choice of inspiration is what makes scrolling so fun.

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And it looks like designers are taking part in the scrolling too. Just recently, I spotted an image on my feed from a 1993 photoshoot for Versace that wouldn’t have looked out of place in new British darling designer Richard Quinn’s SS20 collection. Like never before, we’re able to see first-hand where the inspiration for some of our modern favourites is drawn, because they’re the same sources that we’re following too.

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We all love nostalgia. But vintage icons making their way back into mainstream media begets an interesting dichotomy. Who would have thought that social media, the most futuristic of concepts, would arrive at a point where it started to look backwards? And where does it go from here?


Read more: The ten best places to buy vintage in Dublin

Read more: Vintage pattern and prints to bring into your home

Read more: Vintage Christmas jumpers – 27 styles to buy for winter 2019