Why We Should Dress Like 90s Carmen Electra Once Iso Is Fully Over
Obsessed with The Last Dance? SAME. The Netflix / ESPN docuseries that charts the Chicago Bulls dynasty, and of course Michael Jordan’s reign as the NBA’s GOAT, is so damn good we’re all just like, Joe Exotic who???
Seriously, though. There’s just SO much to love. The swagger of MJ (and those oversized suits, hot damn!), the all-out nonconformity of Dennis Rodman, the understated charm of Scottie
Pippen, the on-court eccentricity of Horace Grant (and more importantly, those goggles - gimme). We just love it all so damn much.
While the series is technically about basketball, there’s also something else pretty major to come out of it. The fashion. Dear lawd, the series has dished up the best the nineties has to offer. There were the berets and bootleg jeans, gold hoop earrings and muscle tees, “speedies” and suits so big you can literally fit six of us inside. And yeah a little shoe called the Air Jordan, alongside some seriously good retro basketball merch. But while y’all been frantically Google searching vintage Bulls merch, we’re all out here weeping at how good vintage Carmen Electra was / is.
Why? ‘Coz Carmen was part of the dynasty too. Well, kinda.
So before she was running along the sand in a high-cut wedgie-carving one-piece as Lani McKenzie on Baywatch, Electra caught the eye of Dennis Rodman, who’d come fresh off a hot ‘n’ steamy fling with pop royalty, Madonna. (Yep, talk about aiming high).
The rebound king dated the Playboy playmate for two years, with the pair even tying the knot in 1998 in Las Vegas. And while the relationship didn’t last long - they filed for annulment nine days later, then got divorced in April of 1999 - gee whiz it was on (even in the Bulls locker room, S.P.I.C.Y.).
So in The Last Dance, Rodman obviously gets a lotta love, which means Carmen gets some love, too. She even gets interviewed in a few of the eps, with some epic throwback images of a young Carmie on Rodman’s lap with bottles and baes and boobs everywhere.
Which got us thinking. With all the lockdown laws lessening and life seemingly on the path back to normality, what the hell are we gonna wear? Yep, gurl gotta get glam again. And there’s only one person we wanna channel for our ultimate “Corona comin’ out” party. Our gal, Carmen Electra.
A handkerchief top and matching skirt Carmen with chiiiiiiic platform thong heel Carmen.
A metallic blue suit and boobtube Carmen with pleather so shiny it’s a wonder she didn’t suffer serious retina damage.
A real-life hologram Carmen at the MTV VMAs in 1996 which we literally have no words for. (Also, that lip liner, whatta mood).
Or a Carmen only held together by rhinestone-encrusted metal plates at the VMAs the following year.
The kind of Carmen that would rollerblade down Venice in y’know, a pair of teeny-tiny bike shorts and little floral “shirt” tucked tight at her bosom hoisting her, er, assets even higher to God. I mean, the Matrix shades and choker were one thing, but how does someone look this fire in wrist guards and knee pads? All of a sudden we feel inclined to wrap our wrists and pull out our grade 6 blades, just sayin’.
Or the Carmen that just casually wears a cream bra and mini skirt with criss-cross detailing and NO bulging midriff on a sunny day out in Beverly Hills. Also, let us take a moment of silence for those clog clodhoppers, fuzzy bag and single face-fronting hair clip. Praise be, sista.
Then of course the Rodman red carpet Carmen. Considering the pure fashion prowess of the basketball great, we’re not sure who was whose “handbag”, so to speak, but we’re here for the choker with curious feathered horsetail detail and satin brocade three-piece, um, suit? (She did love a belly-baring three-piece).
But our personal fave is this sh*t hot pink glittering spandex thing-y that we’re hoping was worn to some kind of dress-up party but yeah, it was the ‘90s, so probs not. The dramatic fringing, the ombre pink heart lenses, the holographic flare (yes, you read that correctly), this is peak naughty ought-ies Carmen and WE STAN.
And there was that one time she rocked up to a red carpet in a crushed velvet, ombre gown that featured fringed bell sleeves and statement floral detailing. Cut on the bias in fuschia and purple, it was actually quite ahead of its time, that whole lush Attico-esque, disco fever very much a thing of today.
But in all seriousness, if we had to pick one outfit, like THE outfit, it’s this: the epic white naked dress she wore to the MTV Awards in 1998 (she had a good run on MTV red carpets, didn’t she?). Designed by Stephen Sprouse, the cut-out strapless gown was a feat of architectural triumph, today it still remains one of life’s greatest mysteries in how it stayed on. But twenty-or-so years later, it’s exactly the kind of outfit you’d see Kimmy K or Kenny rocking on a red carpet.
Once derided for her terrible style - “I literally was on every ‘Worst Dressed’ list in that dress” - Carmen Electra’s style has come full circle. Nowadays, every bell-a and it-girl are doing a version of “the Carmen”. What? You think Bella and Gigi Hadid came up with their little handkerchief tops and chokers and low-riders all by themselves? No sir-ee. These girls are DEEP in the Electra archives. Deeeep.
So it’s decided then. The “miracle” MTV dress is the Carmen we’re gonna be when we finally break free of the shackles of tracksuits and top-knots. Queens! We’re here! Platform thong heels on and 000 on speed dial.
But if we’re still feelin’ a little separation anxiety from our beloved track pant (um, HI), we don’t need to worry. Nineties Carmen comes to our rescue yet again. Behold this final piece of athleisure glory:
Damn, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore - but we’re sure as hell gonna try.
This article was written by Kassie Angelo.
Main Image Credit: Licensed by Getty.
14 VMAs Red Carpet Couples We Firmly Want To Get In-Between...
14 VMAs Red Carpet Couples We Firmly Want To Get In-Between
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