This is the second part of a new franchise where people tell us which movies have most influenced their wardrobe choices. Veronica So is the singer in TEETH!!!, editor of L_A_N MAGAZINE, lover of anything X-Files-related, and has just joined the Vice Style team.
When I was 14, my gay uncle took me to get all my hair chopped off, “like Angelina Jolie in Hackers“. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I wanted to please him, and as a result, ended up looking like a Chinese boy with a wonky fringe.
I finally watched Hackers a couple years ago and although the movie is full of cheesy inaccuracies in its portrayal of hacking, it’s a visual overload of great 90s cyberpunk and raver style—heads full of elastic bands, rollerblades, arcade game graphics, and endless bungee chords and zippers.
The main character, Dade Murphy, played by Jonny Lee Miller, is a computer prodigy who created a deadly computer virus when he was 11 years old.
Just as he turns 18, old enough to legally access a computer again, Dade moves to New York with his mom and meets a trendy crew of hacking-obsessed teenagers at his high school: Wipeout-playing, biker jacket-wearing rich girl Kate Libby—Angelina Jolie—Ramon aka Phantom Phreak, who pulls off wearing yellow leopard print without looking like one of the Josie and the Pussycats, and cyber-spectacled C3real Killer—played by ever-present-in-90s-films Matthew Lillard—who is amazingly on-trend with a fresh Supreme sticker stuck on his laptop the same year the brand started in Manhattan.
And there’s also a totally hot dream sequence with Jonny Lee Miller in a red vinyl leotard.
FALLEN ANGELS (1995)
Wong Kar Wai is one of my top fashion directors. In every movie he makes, he creates the most stylish characters, often played by his few select muses. In Fallen Angels, it’s Leon Lai—the Justin Timberlake of Hong Kong—who breaks away from his squeaky-clean, 90s Canto-popstar image to play a remorseless contract killer who decides he is going to stop killing and also stop having feelings for his cool, detached, unnamed partner, played by half-Asian hottie Michelle Reis.
He bums around a seedy Hong Kong nightscape toting a gun, wearing dark sunglasses, a white t-shirt with a black blazer, and a silver tough-guy chain.
Michelle Reis, who won Miss Hong Kong in 1988, became a cult film character from her role in this movie as a chain-smoking, quivering, obsessive mess who faxes kill-plans and masturbates in PVC fetish dresses.
COMING TO AMERICA (1988)
You may laugh, but this movie is so sartorially sophisticated it hurts. As you all know, Prince Akeem—Eddie Murphy—is tired of having his royal bottom wiped for him and wants to find his own wife, so he sets out with his royal detainer and best friend Semmi—Arsenio Hall—to find a girl who can think for herself, in America. It starts off with a dance sequence choreographed by Paula Abdul, performed by 50 dancers in tribal beads, loincloths, and long pheasant feathers.
The party guests are all wearing colorful traditional African print dresses and turbans and Prince Akeem himself is rocking a long, single braid, which he calls his “prince’s lock”, and is draped in an ocelot fur. At one point, we see King Jaffe Joffer, the ruler of Zamunda, stepping out of a limousine wearing lion fur, with the head on and everything.
When Akeem and Semmi arrive in Queens and their 17 pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage get stolen, they get a commoner makeover and are shown walking out of a Brooklyn shop looking like two perfectly dressed for the most stylish night out ever, circa 2008.
The Bene Gesserit are a witchy space cult that possesses bright blue eyes, which symbolize magical superhuman powers only women possess.
Kyle MacLachlan’s character Paul Atreides is the reincarnation of Bene Gesserit’s super-being Kwisatz Haderach, so he gets to have them, too.
Using the power, he teaches a group of native Dune inhabitants, Fremen, how to control and wield giant sandworms that live on the planet, wearing muscley-looking stillsuits that capture and reclaim every particle of water possible so that the wearer can survive the vast desert of Dune.
David Lynch’s version saw the unwelcome addition of Weirding Modules, a device that has a throat unit and a hand-held projector worn by the Fremen warriors that amplified a chuffing noise in the throat, causing a sonic disruption.
Sting features as the bad guy in the movie as the ripped, blond, sculptural plastic briefs-wearing Harkonnen.
ROMEO + JULIET (1996)
Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet showed us how Shakespeare’s play could be interpreted in a youthful, gettable way: with guns instead of swords, party drugs, wet curtain hair, unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts, and neon crosses.
Romeo’s crew are dressed up like western Viking punks for the masked ball, while Mercutio gets trained up in a big white afro and silver bra top, pulling party invitations out of his lame miniskirt.
Juliet’s mom is an even bigger freak, running around before the party in a wig cap, tarantula eyes, and a pink marabou-lined dressing gown.
Tybalt’s crew are pure, greasy Latin gangsters with soul patches, vests with bare torsos, and net shirts. Juliet is a white gothic angel surrounded by new-age paraphernalia like candles and crystals.
LIQUID SKY (1982)
Liquid Sky follows two rivaling models, Margaret and Jimmy, around the early 80s New York club scene while they perform at avant-garde nightclub fashion shows, have complicated sex lives, and hassle dealers for drugs.
Both the main characters are played by the same androgynous actress, Anne Carlisle, and the only way you can tell the difference between them is that she wears Blitz Kid make-up and he doesn’t.
Written by Veronica So