W Magazine: Time Is On Their Side

Posted on October 17, 2012

W Mag had this fun little idea of doing up four leading ladies, each in the styles of a different decade, and they all look pretty great.


The 2000s: Keira Knightley
Chanel braided tweed jacket.


The 1990s: Scarlett Johansson
Dolce&Gabbana silk lace dress and silk and lace bodysuit.


The 1980s: Mia Wasikowska
Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière wool jacquard bustier.


The 1970s: Rooney Mara
Prada silk and wool coat and dress, and embellished cotton poplin shirt. Albertus Swanepoel hat.


It always cracks us up how fashion people, who really should know better than anyone, fail the accuracy test when it comes to period styling. No one in the ’80s we lived through had Mia’s hairstyle, and no one in the ’70s we vaguely remember wore bejeweled collars or the kinds of bright, geometric, digital prints that Rooney’s wearing, nor do we recall that sort of lacquered bob with the blunt bangs. Great pictures and transformations (we could have sworn Mia was January Jones), but as period pieces? Naah.

[Credit: Photographed by Steven Klein and styled by Edward Enninful.]

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  • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

    I like Keira as a blonde! And the ScarJo image of the 90s is really timeless goth, not a specifically grunge look which would have been more period appropriate.

    • filmcricket

      Yeah, and ScarJo’s make-up is way off if they’re trying to do grunge or heroin chic. The look was pretty minimalist, as I recall. Make the eyes even more dramatic and you could hit Siouxsie Sioux territory, but otherwise all I’m seeing is Debbie Harry, as others have noted.

      • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

         I seem to remember spending ’91 & ’92 with a knit cap pulled down over my hair, a flannel shirt and a lot of black eyeliner on the lower lids.

      • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

         … unless they are specifically referencing The Craft, which I seem to remember was pretty influential in terms of fashion for about 5 minutes.

        • Sobaika

          I LOVE THAT MOVIE.

        • tereliz

          THAT’S what she looks like exactly. Thanks for pinning that down for me, Alicia!

        • http://typicalgirlink.wordpress.com/ Dorothy Damage

           But even then, the eye makeup shouldn’t look like that, Fairuza’s character kept it pretty typically 90s, kohl-rimmed and nothing particularly fancy. *just watched the Craft in girly film night*

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

           And for the entirety of Charmed.

      • sekushinonyanko

         All I’m seeing is Rogue from X-Men. Specifically the one from X-Men: Evolution.

    • SaoirseLee

      I agree, the 90s had several distinct looks, but this wasn’t one of them. 
      Scarlett looks like Caitlin Moran, if anyone: http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/arts/photos/2012/07/30/hi-caitlin-moran-q-8col.jpg

      • SaoirseLee

        Actually, the more I look at these photos, the more they crack me up, they all look a bit crazy. 

        It’s starting to  remind me of the speed dating scene from Coming to America (a film that informs much of my life :P): http://youtu.be/9QHVg6eZk7w

    • RebeccaKW

      I could see them using the red lips, Courtney Love certainly did.  But her hair should be grungy and she shouldn’t have the vampire eye makeup.  Didn’t the stylist ever watch ‘Singles?’

  • In_Stitches

    Poor Scarlet looks like Roseanne.

    • Rand Ortega

       She looks like Kat Von D. to me. Which is way worse.

  • Little_Olive

    Exactly. The Mad Men people should have been consulted. 

    It has a “realness” in the sense that the makeup is not dewey and perfect (esp re Scarlett), but I am not sure whether that was intentional. 

  • schadenfreudelicious

    i was just about to say that having gone through all those decades none of the styling even remotely resembles anything i recall seeing or wearing…Scarlett looks like she is channeling Debbie Harry circa 1976 (sans nose ring perhaps), and while i love a strong collarbone on a gal, Kiera’s clavicles are rather frightening in that particular shot…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12801074 Brett Hulst

      I was thinking that Keira’s clavicles were downright dangerous.  She will cut slice you open with them if you are not careful.

    • mmgk

      It’s freaking me out how shiny they are.

      • schadenfreudelicious

        the lighting is very unfortunate, they look close to bursting through her skin…

    • Aurumgirl

       For Keira particularly, they have the decade all wrong.  Keira’s no 2000 lady; she’s Hitchcock’s blonde Ice Queen from the 1950’s. 

      • RebeccaKW

        Or an 80’s rich bitch, if the shoulders were padded.

  • deathandthestrawberry

    I guess they were going for grunge with the Scarlett Johansson pic. But all I see is Debbie Harry. Oddly, Kiera Knightly’s pic reads ’80s too, with its Robert Palmer model vibe.

    • http://twitter.com/foodycatAlicia foodycatAlicia

       The blonde make her look very Brigitte Neilsen for me!

    • BrooklynBomber

      Yes, Debbie Harry! I couldn’t figure it out. 

      Totally agree about the Robert Palmer thing, which is exactly how it looked to me, too.

    • Lizzyisi

       I thought Knightly was the 80’s too, before I read the caption.

      On the other hand, I knew people with that Wasikowska haircut in the 80s. I had it for about as long as it took to grow out–I ripped it out of a hairstyle book in a salon in LA–I felt gorgeous for about a week and awkward for several months after wards.

  • http://twitter.com/younglibrarian Katie Dunneback

    I scrolled down and saw Mia’s picture and my first thought was “Blade Runner”!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678337501 Carla Axtman

    Keira: those collar bones are so…prominent. Even the light bounces off them. It’s odd.

  • filmcricket

    I was going to say… Keira looks the most retro of all of them. Fun pictures, but total period fail.

  • http://kburnell.livejournal.com/ burnell

    I get that the Keira picture is supposed to be all 2000s, but it really, really looks like a 2000s interpretation of Kim Novak in Vertigo to me.

    • kimmeister

      I know, did a miss a “blonde slicked back hair” phenomenon sometime last decade???

      • YoungSally

        Don’t think so unless it is one of those mass psychogenic things.  I see the 2000s interpreted in this shoot as “well we don’t really remember much about it so we’ll just shoot a pretty suit”….if anything the 2000s was the move into yoga and all things organic….

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

          I remember shittons of tie-dye with the late 90s/early 00s revival of 70s fashions. 

          • YoungSally

            aka: the beginning of the yoga movement….anyone here old enough to remember Lilias, Yoga and You on PBS in the 70s?

          • alyce1213

            I taped her show. She’s so calming, a living valium. (She had super long hair and then cut it.)

        • sekushinonyanko

           I remember lots of shimmery bronzer and two toned hair (usually blonde on top and brown underneath or chunky, stripey highlights) and very tight, very low pants with belly chains, exposed thongs and “baby tees”. Shiver…

          • YoungSally

            Belly chains……ewwwwww. Guess I had blocked that one.

    • Imasewsure

      I thought they were going for a 50’s look there and immediately thought of Kim Novak too… how is this 2000’s? Great Kim Novak chic though… I’m ignoring the collar bones because she gives such great face

    • altalinda

      I had the exact same thought (and should have read through the comments before I posted it).

    • http://twitter.com/starrika Ali

       All I remember about the 2000s was low waisted flare jeans with the thong straps pulled up above the waistband. Thanks for that Britney/Christina.

      • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

        Right? When I rewatch 2000s tv shows (buffy, wonderfalls, etc) I see are low rise flares and mid driff showing tops. 

  • Qitkat

    I guess my family album through all those years is an epic fail.

  • Clueless_Jock

    Not really decades, more like style icons – Brigitte Nielsen. Susan Sontag, Twiggy, Diane Keaton…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/BJTY6KY7LOR7MDOD6QCZUC3VVI Donna Tabor

       Aha! I think you’re exactly right.

      Not so Clueless, after all.

    • ecallaw1977

      Very good call, except I would replace Susan Sontag with Debbie Harry.

  • DinaSews

    Not much of an expert on period pieces myself but having lived through these decades, nothing looked familiar.

    • StellaZafella

       Me too! I just scrolled through and thought, “I was sure on different drugs than these guys!”

  • piecesofconfetti

    I love Rooney Mara’s, for looking like she walked off the set of Velvet Goldmine. 

  • J D

    I like that it’s not literal 70s, 80s, and 90s.  It’s those eras viewed through the nostalgic lens of today’s fashions.

  • Vanja

    “No one in the ’80s we lived through had Mia’s hairstyle.”
    Blake’s 7 Servalan and Sweet Dreams Annie Lennox got very close to that hairstyle. I agree about the rest.
    Also Keira Knightley looks very like early 90’s Sharon Stone in ‘Basic Instinct’.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      Yeah, I’m not sure what they’re referencing with 2000s. I thought the Absolut Drag Queens through the decades did a better job of personifying each decade’s style. 

  • kimmeister

    The burgundy hat that Rooney is wearing is awesome.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marteani Barbara Guttman

    I can’t be the only one seeing a geometric print on the end of Rooney Mara’s nose…

  • Winter_White

    “It always cracks us up how fashion people, who really should know better than anyone, fail the accuracy test when it comes to period styling.”

    And it always astonishes me how specific — not just by decade but often by year — you guys can get!   When you write things like “that look is so 1977” or “meh, this is feeling a little winter of 1994 to us”…I just marvel at your powers of fashion recall.  :)

  • http://aldonsusi.blogspot.com/ Susi R

    Keira >>>>> than everyone!

  • http://redriverromance.wordpress.com/ Brittney

    ScarJo looks like Cruella DeVille

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

    I like the concept, but the actual photos fall short for me. Maybe it’s the dead, expressionless eyes or the flat, airbrushed-to-hell-and-back skin tones. I wouldn’t necessarily expect much historical accuracy for something like this, but meh. The photo-editing is just so heavy-handed.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      You can tell they thought they were making it look real: “If we blur it and then up the sharpness, it will totally look real! Right?” 
      Plus, two words: foggy hairlines

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZLU6YVO4BRTELTTH3GRAAMWZQ Dot

        Exactly. Those blurry, weird hairlines are a dead giveaway.

  • crash1212

    May not be ‘period correct’, but they are fabulous. I would cut a bitch for that Chanel on Keira…also, she’s not bad as a blonde. Love Scarlett.

  • Susan Collier

    Nell Campbell might have had that bob in the 1980s, but I’m not positive. Also, I had no idea that people resembled Matrix extras in the 2000s, but there you go.

  • BrooklynBomber

    Fun, but I agree –  I don’t get most of the period references at all. The 2000s hair style, make up, and power suit evoke ’80s for me, and I don’t see anything ’80s in the Mia picture. I’ll give them the 70s floppy hat, but the Vidal Sasson-ish bob is ’60s. 

    What was 90s fashion, anyway? All I can remember is Calvin Klein-ish minimalism. 

    • snarkykitten

      What I remember from the 90s is plaid. lots & lots of plaid. And those cropped midriff baring ts

      • ampg

        Right, but if you’re not going to do grunge, the goth thing isn’t a bad way to go.  I think it would’ve been more authentic if they gave her an eyebrow piercing instead.

        • snarkykitten

           Yeah, I’ll give them credit for that. But I can’t honestly tell when goth began or if it’s gone out of fashion. It never seems to die with the local high school set.

  • annrr

    I said the exact same thing.  “Nobody in the 80’s had that hair style” and the 70’s completely misses the mark.

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

    I still have no idea what the 00s were, fashion-wise, but I think the 2010s are going to be all about digital prints when they look back and reference it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1088730746 Christopher Brathwaite

    To be honest, ScarJo does remind me of the 90’s here. Mainly because she looks ridiculously like Rogue from the 90’s X-men cartoon. It’s kind of hilarious

  • MilaXX

    These all look like Halloween costumes.  Mia looks like a female Ziggy Stardust and Scarlet looks like Storm from the X-men

  • PrunellaV

    Right up there with 50s full makeup in period westerns.

  • sarct

    I was unaware that Brigitte Nielsen hair was a Thing in the 2000s.

    Rooney Mara looks like she could be running around with Tom Baker’s Doctor Who.

  • mjude

    love the photos but you are right tlo

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maya-KC/537771651 Maya KC

    WOW, Keira looks thin. Other than that, gorgeous shots.

  • joything

    I have to agree.  I was conscious for all of that, and only the ’90s and ’00s styling looks right. 

    Love Keira as a platiumum blonde!  Hitchcock is spinning!

  • Rand Ortega

    TLo said, “No one in the ’80s we lived through had Mia’s hairstyle”.
    Maybe Kristen McMenamy or Grace Jones (hers was more of a fade, come to think of it), but that’s about it.

  • tereliz

    Wow, was I asleep in the year 2000 when they handed out the peroxide and Chanel? Must have been…

  • granddelusion

    That’s what I was going to say! Interesting looks, but not period.

  • chillpill101

    Rooney Mara looks EXACTLY like Jack Fairy from Velvet Goldmine. 

  • altalinda

    Agreed.  I had Keira pegged as channeling Kim Novak, especially in Vertigo.  Just off by 1/2 a century.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Nope, I see it. Very Dior A-line, Dovima, etc.

  • RL McGruder

    Keira is giving me Linda Evangelista-in-the-80s realness.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/J2VE4NE2FY2BP4QD2XOYKJGLPI Laura

    Can Keira EVER pose without doing fish face?

  • jmorino08

    The 200s look is something you’d find in a 1980s movie imagining the 2000s. Or did I miss the decade when everyone had Brigitte Nielsen’s hair?

  • VicksieDo

    Yeah, and they forgot the bright blue metallic eye shadow in the 70s!

    • Kate4queen

      and the fierce eyeliner and straight long hair and bell bottoms and shrieky prints and…

  • http://twitter.com/starrika Ali

    Scar Jo as Rogue? Because that’s basically what I’m seeing.

  • tallgirl1204

    Where are the 80s big hair and shoulders?  That was the era my body and hair were made for…

  • jilly_d

    Gawd, I have such a girl boner for Keira K.

  • nankipoo

    I am sorry but they all look the same.

  • snarkykitten

    I’m confused. None of these evoke the era

  • http://twitter.com/PhDKnitter marlie

    Kiera is channeling Linda Evangelista like a PRO! The rest, I feel just kind of “MEH” about. Rooney is virtually unrecognizable (and not in a good way), and I’m crazily distracted by her uneven bangs. 

  • alice20c

    So agree. It doesn’t hit any trend I came across in 40 years. The Absolute decades commercial gets it much closer.

  • Laylalola

    Probably Scarlett comes the closest, as a combination Riot Grrrl/Goth Girl circa 1994/1995. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=790818401 Laurie Landry

    Keira needs to eat a biscuit or 12,  Scar Scar is Rockin’ this and I wouldn’t have recognized Rooney.  Pretty cool shoot.

  • anotherkate

    Man, does Keira Knightly ever have ANGLES on her face! So beautiful and different whichever way she turns. Love her.

  • http://twitter.com/Alloyjane Alloy Jane

    If they wanted to capture the 90s, they would’ve made Scarlett a raver.  Or some sort of hippie-ish grunge princess.  Doll parts, anyone?

  • quiltrx

    I have to say they got ScarJo pretty close to what we looked like in the 90s, except she’s not disheveled enough.  We never looked quite that ‘organized’ back then.

  • Trisha26

    It would have been more interesting to see the same actress/personality made up for each decade.

  • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

    Kiera looks like the 1950s, Scar Jo = Debbie Harry, and Mia looks like Twiggy. In fact, Roony looks like she just stepped off the Yellow Submarine.

    • AnneElliot

      When I saw the thumbnail I thought it WAS Debbie Harry!  And I don’t remember anyone looking like Keira in the 2000s, but I do live in the flyover zone.  I thought she was supposed to be Lana Turner or someone from that era.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1677420035 Nicole Seligman

    i also thought mia was january jones! none of these are any decade or even particularly now. interesting transformations, but i think kiera, mia and mara all look like they’ve been put in one of those virtual hairstyle websites.

  • guest2visits

    Agree – this is some kind of stylized interpretation of the decades.  But I still think these are fantastic; I love the idea.
     I thought it looked they were making Keira up as a Hitchcock femme fatale of the 50s.

  • formerlyAnon

    Thank god so many others think these miss out on the details. I was getting seriously worried about my visual memory for a minute.

    The ’70s through the mid-’80s, especially – that was the period I was really paying attention to the right looks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCARAOJSL553GBBPQSLRYD5REE L.

    Golly, four different women and four different decades and for all of them they used the exact same set of Mrs. Potato Head lips!

  • Judih1

    ScarJo looks better than most of the RC looks I’ve seen her in recently. Great Make up

    Would have liked to have seen at least 1 woman of color in this fashion editorial – sigh

  • deltabronze

    Doing them up for what? Halloween? Scary.

  • Allison Woods

    I think they all look pretty great (esp Kiera) but WTF? The styling is totally WRONG!!

  • eight_of_nine

    Daaaamn, ScarJo.  To use a TLo-ism, the hair, makeup, and rings are all giving me life.  /goth at heart who was born too late and missed the movement

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Too late? Goth is the one movement that never ends! Everyday is Halloween forever!

  • http://profiles.google.com/sauchih Sau-Chih Feng

    Super fun editorial. While not necessarily accurate, it sort of evokes some of the feel of the periods? I think the 80s one with Mia is the most fun. I like how all the actresses still look like themselves, yet are unrecognizable at first because the style is so different from their usual looks. Especially since Keira and Mia are usually looked upon as more “classical” beauties and dress in more “romantic” styles.
    I maintain that Keira would be just as beautiful in modern dress, and I think I’m right! 

  • smallgirlsaretrouble

    Keira looks like Spike from Buffy

  • MoHub

    Not even close to accurate. I should know; I was born in 1951 and lived through every one of those decades. Just glad they didn’t screw with my beloved late ’60s.

  • decormaven

    What I find interesting that the lip color is pretty consistent in all four shots. These aren’t period styling, more of a nodding reference. And that’s grading on the curve!

  • SewingSiren

    They all look like they are sitting at a very stylish club in 2012. You would think that W could look at their own covers from the stated periods to get the looks more accurate if they wanted to. But then they couldn’t really use the clothes from their fashion closet then, could they?

  • PeggyOC

    While the 90’s girl is really more accurate as a 2000’s girl, I’ve never seen Scarlett Johansson look so good. She is eating the camera alive there.

  • DominoEstella

    I disagree.  This looks like Vogue editorials from those periods.. not street style.  I like these, I think they did a good job. 

  • http://twitter.com/BetseyBraddock It’s Kimmy

    Did anyone already say Scarjo looks like Rogue from the X-men?

  • LilyPad

    The photoshop is way too distracting. The looks are ok i guess, but none of them even look real!

  • http://twitter.com/TMamBo Therese Bohn

    Am I the only one who finds Ms. Knightly’s collarbones creepy?  Her skin looks like a shiny wax figurine!  I think she’s a beautiful woman, she’s got a modern TIppi Hedren/Kim Novak vibe here, but it’s just looks too creepy!

    And no, no woman in the 1980’s wore her hair like that, it looks more like a Mr. Spock cut in bright red (60s Vidal Sassoon) Her hair would have been more believable it it was one of those hideous asymmetric perms!

  • KQ67

    Is it wrong that I think this is the best ScarJo has ever looked? Totally loving it. Keira Knightly looks like Sharon Stone, Fatal Attraction era.

  • MarissaLG

    This is all kinds of messed up. Kiera Knightly looks awesome, but her look SCREAMS 90s to me. ScarJo looks beautiful (it would take real talent to make her look anything but) but she looks like a sorority girl trying to dress up “goth” and not really knowing what that means.