fashion is finding inspiration in tv's forgotten heroes

Amid icons like Joan Collins and Fran Drescher are the underrated legends whose style we still see echoed on the catwalk.

by Zac Bayly
08 February 2016, 5:45am

Television has been generous when it comes to style icons. Joan Collins gave us her fantastically chic Dynasty ensembles in the 80s, Fran Drescher and The Nanny delivered gaudy high-fashion-made-cheap in the 90s and Gossip Girl was pretty much held together with headbands. But amid them are some seriously under-sung heroes; many of whom worked looks we're seeing echoed through recent collections. We look back at our personal sartorial legends and imagine what they'd be coveting in 2016.

Nina Van Horn

As the fashion director of BLUSH Magazine—the publication at the centre of the criminally underrated Just Shoot Me—Nina was the epitome of 90s glamour. Played to over-the-top perfection by Wendy Malick, she lived for slinky black sheath dresses and pantsuits that accentuated her tall, lanky frame. She hated the idea of dressing down, except in one episode where she met "the real J. Crew", and for one brief shining moment experienced comfort in casual dress for the first (and only) time.

Jean Paul Gautier Spring 2016 Haute Couture

Nina's foray into the world of comfort lasted about half of an episode, and she never strayed from her signature look again. If Nina were still ruling the fashion world, she'd have found delight in picking through Jean Paul Gautier's Spring 2016 Haute Couture collection. We can see her in the height-accentuating pinstriped pant suits, slinky black floor-length sleeved dress and the boldly striped smoking robes.

Lucille Bluth

Lucille Bluth was the alcoholic, domineering, conniving matriarch of Arrested Development's Bluth family. She was best known for her stinging barbs and total disinterested ignorance of the concerns of the common man. Her style was very Chanel: you could pick most of her outfits from the recent Haute Couture offering for Spring 2016. After all, she spent most of her time in pale and pastel bouclé suits.

Chanel Spring 2016 Haute Couture

The nautical-inspired pieces could have even moonlighted as a costume for Mother Boy—the unsettling mother-son performance competition she forced her son, and later grandson to join her in.

Mrs. Dubcek

The glorious Mrs. Dubcek from 3rd Rock from the Sun—the John Lithgow-led comedy from screenwriting legends Bonnie and Terry Turner — is perhaps television's most underrated fashion star. When she wasn't working her way through countless cigarettes she served as the family's terrible moral compass while they navigated the nuances of the human experience. Our favourite musing: "You can tell a lot about your partner by how they treat their wife and kids."

Maison Margiela Spring 2016 Haute Couture

She was also a fabulous dresser, embracing gaudily patterned blouses and kimonos as she wafted smoke about her tenants' attic apartment. You don't need to look far to see her signature style embodied in recent collections. The deconstructed and disheveled dresses and jackets comprised of insanely patterned—seemingly thrown together—fabrics in the Maison Margiela Couture collection for Spring 2016 scream "Mrs. Dubcek!"


Our forth lady of glamour and grace is none other than the gorgeous Yzma, best known for the film The Emperor's New Groove, and then the television show The Emperor's New School. Voiced by the late Eartha Kitt (who won two Emmy's for the role before her death), Yzma is potentially the most consistently dressed character discussed here. She wears the same thing everyday. 

Viktor & Rolf's Spring 2016 Haute Couture

Given that she seems so fond of a show-stopping collar, we imagine she'd love the unmistakably cubist 3D collars of Viktor & Rolf's Haute Couture collection for Spring 2016. 


Okay, maybe the titular character of animated comedy Archer isn't forgotten. In fact he's probably the best dressed man on television. But we feel his best outfit isn't getting the credit it deserves. The alcoholic, womanising, psychopathically confident and narcissistic (James Bond parodying) super-spy normally favours a perfectly tailored black or navy suit, but we want to talk about his "tactical turtleneck". 

McQ Alexander McQueen's Fall 2016 

McQ Alexander McQueen's Fall 2016 men's collection could offer some higher concept "tacktleneck" options as well as chic all-black alternatives for those drunken stealth night missions.


Words Zac Bayly

Alexander McQueen
maison margiela
jean paul gautier
viktor & rolf