Every time Bella Hadid goes outside wearing clothes, the Marie Claire editors come close to blows because we each have strong opinions about denim, and she has no idea what she’s talking about. But is it possible we’ve (almost) been too distracted by the dangerously close-to-JNCOs-voluminousness of her pants to realise the long game she’s playing? One that shows both the awesome, persona-crafting power of clothes and Bella Hadid’s own ambition? Hang on – we have to go argue with a certain someone about her thoughts on cropped, flared jeans.

Reaching a high point on her heavily ’90s-influenced fashion tour over the weekend, Bella trotted out her most referential outfit yet: a fur-trimmed cardigan and leather mini from her collaboration with Chrome Hearts, a crucifix necklace, Saint Laurent pumps, and barrettes holding her swingy, well-brushed Met Gala haircut back.

Bella Hadid

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The easy comparison is Cher Horowitz, but remember that she was a Cindy Crawford stan, so *that* is the real allusion here.

While Kendall Jenner does the streetwear thing – with an occasional, cheeky nod to Paris Hilton, her older sister’s former employer – Bella’s looks have always been a bit more of a specific throwback. But to what end? One possibility: shaping her legacy – not as a ‘social media model,’ but as one of the greats.

Just as all of us proclaim our allegiance to specific groups with what we wear, Bella, by dressing like Naomi and Kate and Linda, connects herself to an exclusive club, one that no longer accepts new members – or possibly even exists at all. And with that boring, ongoing brouhaha over who deserves the title ‘supermodel’, stepping out in the guise of one is kind of brilliant and something of a ‘f*@k you.’

90s Supermodels

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Of course, the clothes can’t literally make a woman, but they sure can help with the image of one. So it all comes (subtly) full-circle with what Kendall wrote on her website in response to Stephanie Seymour’s comments, with one important amendment: Bella is certainly a model of the time. But she might have her sights set on being a model of all time.

Via Marie Claire US