Cinematic style: Winona Ryder

A new book charts the fashion influence of Winona Ryder, the ‘90s icon and muse to Marc Jacobs who epitomized grunge and rebellious style

Everyone has their first Winona Ryder moment. For many, it was in Heathers (1988), the cliquey highschool comedy, that the actress first struck a chord. For others it might have been in Beetlejuice (1988), the Tim Burton-directed oddball film, while playing a smoldering, angsty teen alongside Michael Keaton, or in the similarly creepy gothic horror Edward Scissorhands, released in 1990.

Robert Rich, a former public relations specialist for Marc Jacobs, had his first impressionable encounter with Ryder in 1999, shortly after the release of Girl, Interrupted, when she walked into the brand’s store on Mercer Street in Manhattan. The pair instantly hit it off, and their friendship blossomed at fashion parties – such as the Met Gala – or shopping in SoHo.

Rich documented these glory years on polaroid film and camera phone images – a selection of which has been published in a new book, out now. Winona charts a 20 year-period from the late ‘90s, when the actor was maturing into her role as a Hollywood icon and fashion muse.

Ryder’s public image was always one of the rebel, helped perhaps by the dark, sometimes gothic characters she played, as well as the publicity she received in dating Depp, who famously had “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm. She wore denim mini skirts, black leather jackets and graphic tees, while also donning slinky slip dresses and plunging gowns on the red carpet.

One set of images in the book shows Ryder wearing a long, black, furry coat, which is being tailored by Kate Moss, a fellow ‘90s and ‘00s style icon and rebellious figure – who also dated Depp. Both Moss and Ryder typified the fashion of those eras, in an effortless mix of grunge and classic.

In another polaroid, Ryder is photographed against a collaged wall in Rich’s office, wearing a ‘Free Winona’ T-shirt – a reference to her brush with the law, when she was arrested in 2001 for shoplifting from Saks Fifth Avenue. The incident saw her sentenced to 36 months’ probation and 480 hours of community service, as well as become the subject of media scrutiny and public interest. The slogan T-shirt, still a statement-making trend, became a hot ticket in Los Angeles at the time, created by the owner of a local gift shop.

Many of the images in the book reveal intimate, never-before-seen moments of Ryder: eating a pizza, getting dressed or simply, candidly, hanging out. But, most of all, they offer a rare glimpse into the famously private star’s life.

Winona, €45, published by IDEA, is available now.

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