Moment 73: Hip-Hop Stop

Hip-hop-influenced fashion ruled the runways in the early Nineties, with Chanel’s Nouveau Rapper collection and the DKNY fly girls both exemplifying the trend.

Isaac Mizrahi decks out Arthur Hubbert in his take on hip-hop in 1991

Isaac Mizrahi decks out Arthur Hubbert in his take on hip-hop in 1991.

Photo By Richard Bowditch/WWD Archive

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

Grunge wasn’t the only music-cum-fashion phenomenon in the early Nineties. In fall 1991, hip-hop reigned supreme. Ever on top of pop culture, Karl Lagerfeld was among the first to bring the look to the runways that season, with his Nouveau Rapper collection for Chanel, complete with quilted leather jackets, baseball caps worn backwards and loads of gold nameplates and chains. Donna Karan followed suit with her DKNY fly girls, as did Charlotte Neuville, with her quilted gold suits.


“The most stylish people are the homegirls and homeboys,” remarked Isaac Mizrahi, who, inspired by his elevator operator Arthur Hubbert, offered his own witty take: He accessorized his lineup that season with Star of David medallions recast to oversize, Run-DMC proportions.


The designer also had comedienne Sandra Bernhard open his show with a hip-hop ode of her own. “He’s got the look that’s unky-fey,” she rapped. “Big gold jewelry you’re proud to be seen in. Homegirl look is the only way.” And while the trend would pulse stronger some years over others, the industry’s flirtation with the various guises of urban street-chic style remained with designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and brands, including Rocawear, Phat Farm, Ecko and Enyce.

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