'Beverly Hills' relaunch puts style in new class
When Fox launched the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” in 1990, fashion was not at the forefront.
“I wore terrible denim with gold chains hanging everywhere. Our jacket collars were always up, our jeans were always rolled at the ankle and David Silver (played by Brian Austin Green) had some of the loudest shirts in the history of television,” recalls Jennie Garth, who famously played rich girl Kelly Taylor.
Garth reprises her role on the CW’s infinitely more fashion-savvy revamp “90210.” This time, her character works at the fictitious West Beverly High as a guidance counselor and is, in Garth’s words, “always completely overdressed for her environment. My character is very glamorous,” she says. “The other day, I wore a very short tailored skirt and these 5-inch Stuart Weitzman pumps on set. They were so high I could barely walk.”
And that’s exactly what viewers want, according to CW prexy Dawn Ostroff. “Fashion is hugely important to our audience,” she says. “Fashion, along with music, has become a huge tool for us to reach young people.”
The eight years since the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” went off the air has marked “the biggest shift we’ve ever seen in terms of how viewers consume their content,” Ostroff says. Now viewers can visit CWtv.com and buy looks from all their favorite shows — while they’re watching them. You can shop by brand, character, episode or product.
Viewers who already tuned into the new “90210,” which debuted Sept. 2, saw a cast of highly fashion-literate young things, decked out in the latest designs by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney, and accessorized with hipsterish finds from edgy L.A. boutiques.
Ostroff, who predicts “90210” will become “the West Coast version of ‘Gossip Girl,'” hired “Friends” costume designer Debra McGuire to dress the cast for the pilot. McGuire says she purposely garbed the thesps in uber fashion-forward styles and avoided looking at episodes of the original show. “I didn’t want to be influenced by it in any way,” she says. “This show is all about freshness and newness.”
McGuire scoured the streets of L.A. for her cast and shopped everywhere from high-end Madison to chains like American Apparel, H&M and Urban Outfitters, as well as niche boutiques like Show Pony in Echo Park. She pulled items from a wide variety of labels such as Jovovich-Hawk, Modern Amusement, Zooey, Trovata, Paul Frank, the Battalion, Vince and BeBe, among others. She then sent looks off for executive approval.
“My first note from the studio was that there weren’t enough great handbags at the school,” she says. “So I bought 10 absolutely fantastic handbags for the extras. It’s the most glamorous high school you’ve ever seen.”