In this piece, fashion writer Mayra Peralta, explores the influence of the Mexican hit series, Rebelde on fashion through a Y2K lens.
If you are a fashion connoisseur or just anyone who spends enough time scrolling down fashion Instagram, you’ll know Miu Miu’s SS22 collection cemented the return of low rise. Exploited through the famous — or infamous, depending on who you ask — micro skirt and crop top ensemble, the Y2K trend is back in full force. As one might expect, this resurgence has brought renewed interest in the style of 2000s icons such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. In Latin America, however, the reemergence of trends from the early aughts prompted us to revisit the impact of the TV phenomenon Rebelde.
A Latin pop-culture gemstone, Rebelde is the Mexican adaptation (and most popular version) of the Argentinian TV series Rebelde Way. Created by Cris Morena and premiered in 2004, the telenovela follows a group of privileged kids attending the exclusive Elite Way School and dealing with all sorts of teenage struggles. With a good part of the plot revolving around students Mia, Roberta, Miguel, Diego, Lupita, and Giovanni forming a band, Rebelde also birthed the musical sensation RBD. With Y2K trends making the rounds, a Netflix sequel released at the beginning of the year, and an army of loyal fans, Rebelde’s fashion is standing the test of time 18 years later.
Mexican creative director and stylist Nayeli de Alba, who was involved in the wardrobe design of Netflix’s Rebelde, knows exactly why the show has that timeless allure (at least at the moment). “Rebelde is gaining momentum now because everything circles back and the 2000s are returning with force. The series was one of the most important of that decade. There are many points in common [with the present]: the pointy boots, the high knee boots, the return of the flip phone, the super straight hair, the acid wash jeans… you name it,” de Alba tells Teen Vogue. ”I think Rebelde took all the highlights from the 2000s, so if you watch it now you find one fashionable point after another.”
It comes as no surprise, then, why many credit Rebelde for shaping the style of an era. Through the refreshing takes on school uniforms — albeit, hypersexualized, as de Alba points out — and the eclectic mix of trends, the telenovela became a source of style inspiration for Hispanic teens. The large cast covering nearly every TV trope and trend in the fashion spectrum turned the show into a Y2K pioneer. Stylist Pedro Hanhausen Vignon, who grew up watching Rebelde, remarks that even secondary characters like Alma Rey (played by Ninel Conde) “served memorable looks that are nowadays a great example of fashion at that time.” But much like Blair and Serena in Gossip Girl, Rebelde‘s unrivaled fashion icons were leading ladies Anahí and Dulce María in the roles of Mia Colucci and Roberta Pardo, respectively.
Portraying opposing archetypes, the frenemies’ wardrobes perfectly conveyed their contrasting personalities. Mia, who often swore on her Armani pants and mentioned Sailor Moon and Paris Hilton at any opportunity, was the reigning queen of Elite Way School. Naturally, she favored pastel colors, rhinestone-encrusted accessories, preppy looks, and a pink color palette. Daughter of a fashion mogul and consummate It Girl, Mia popularized bangs, body glitter, and facial stickers. But perhaps most notably, pleated micro skirts, tied-up tops, and high-knee boots made Mia Colucci the muse of a generation. Judging by the lasting imprint she left in everybody’s minds, she’s not done yet. Hallmarks of her style, such as the hot pink Motorola Razr phone clipped to her boot, are inspiring new generations. Or at least, they are inspiring viral social media posts and Instagram accounts solely dedicated to documenting her outfits.