25 years ago, a movie came along that changed yellow plaid forever. Its name is Clueless.
While it's hard to believe a quarter-century has gone by since director and screenwriter Amy Heckerling introduced Cher Horowitz and her stylish California high school posse to the masses, the passage of time has hardly been noticeable given Cher and co.'s enduring influence—particularly when it comes to the clothes.
On YouTube and TikTok, budding fashionistas who were not yet born when the film debuted offer tutorials in recreating the characters' iconic looks. In 2014, Iggy Azalea's music video for "Fancy" imitated the coming-of-age hit. And, come October 31, you'd be hard-pressed not to come upon at least one pair of BFFs impersonating Cher and Dionne in their Halloween renditions.
Of course, such a legacy would not be possible without the film that started it all and the team behind it, helmed in part by costume designer Mona May, whose career credits include Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Never Been Kissed, Enchanted, and most recently, Santa Clarita Diet. But, before it all came Clueless.
"It's such an amazing experience to have to be able to kind of change what girls were wearing at the time and now lasting that long. 25 years later, it's so crazy that it's still so fresh in a way," May exclusively told E! News.
The story, according to May, begins with a pilot that both she and Heckerling had worked on. While the show was not ultimately picked up, the two hit it off creatively and Heckerling tapped May to not only costume design, but to infuse the film with more of a European fashion sense considering May's own international upbringing.
But, as May recalled, researching what was happening in fashion beyond the borders of America's grunge trend at the time was not as simple a task as it is in the digital world of today. "All my research had to really happen kind of the old-fashioned way. I had to get the magazines from the runways. They were $80," she described. "I had to really figure out what's going on in London and Milan, what's in Paris."
At the same time, she and Heckerling kept the looks age-appropriate while embracing femininity. The result? A group of really well-dressed teenage characters. "I think it was like a really cool blend of the high fashion and then seeing it from the point of view of a high school girl," May said.
Because of the film's smaller budget, May veered away from dressing the cast in designer looks from head to toe—a trend of the time—and instead created a mix of high and low fashion, resulting in very original, but still wearable ensembles that would continue to make an impression on generations to come.
Looking back on those one-of-a-kind costumes, May confirmed she has no regrets. "I think that what I was able to do in the time and money and kind of the innovation and how I pulled it off, it's phenomenal," she told E! News.
"I have to truly pat myself on the back because it was not an easy movie to do, to really find the ideas, translate the ideas, make it so cool…It's just sheer kind of genius and hard work and dedication and love that made it happen."
In honor of the movie's 25th anniversary today, revisit some of those beloved looks and the stories behind them in E!'s gallery below: