The naughty ‘90s

From the Los Angeles riots to the Columbine High School massacre, Americans witnessed events and bought items that reflected the best and worst of the 1990s. The Bill Clinton presidency was in jeopardy – because of the stain – the digital age has started and Silicon Valley affected everyone on the planet. Meanwhile, nudity and sex dominated the pages of magazines, selling everything from haute couture to perfumes and microwave ovens. Nirvana was the group of Generation X while the “Greatest Generation” was thinking of buying something called Hummer.

Super Soakers and Game Boy and PlayStation game consoles were the new trends, as Super Mario World, Gran Turismo and Sonic the Hedgehog attracted young people everywhere. Luxury brands were in demand: buyers wanted a Gucci bag, a Louis Vuitton bag, a Hermès scarf or a Prada dress. TWA and Continental Airlines were still flying and Volkswagen redesigned the Beetle. It was a decade that seemed safe, but it was full of events and large-scale consumption, setting the stage for the 21st century.

All of the above are included in the book “All-American Ads of the ’90s”, by Taschen, which in six chapters depicts the global consumer party of the 1990s.