As an answer to our collective prayers, Dolls Kill has brought dELiA*s back from the dead. Today, Dolls Kill has launched the first collection of its collaboration with the staple ‘90s and ‘00s brand, and, here at NYLON, we are feeling pretty nostalgic.
There are 70 items in the collection, but each is only available in limited quantities, so you’ll want to leap on whatever sparks that nostalgic mood in you. Dolls Kill has honed in on the “quirky fabrics and patterns, the unapologetic attitude,” of the original dELiA*s (per Betsy McLaughlin, Dolls Kill board member and former CEO of Hot Topic), but made the throwback vibes still fit within a modern wardrobe.
We can all attest to the impact dELiA*s had on our life back in the day. NYLON editor-in-chief, Gabrielle Korn, got her first skinny jeans there in ‘03. “They looked so cool on the hanger,” she said, “but everyone cool had them… I put them on and couldn’t believe that an article of clothing could look COOL on ME!” They became the foundation of her “uniform for the next two years,” topped off with a studded belt and rotating selection of graphic tees and cardigans.
Graphic tees felt like the lifeblood of dELiA*s, and plenty of NYLON staffers can remember the best—and most cringe-worthy—purchases they made from the store. Web editor Taylor Bryant recalls her mom never buying her anything from the store until she “folded one year and bought me a ‘Jesus Was My Homeboy’ shirt (I know) for the holidays, which I may or may not have just thrown out.” Design assistant Lindsay Hattrick showed me a picture that seemed too good to be true—showing her rocking a T-shirt covered in whales of various primary colors, posing with the members of All Time Low at Warped Tour. A true time capsule.
When the first physical store opened up at my local mall, each visit demanded a chunk of time spent staring at the wall of kitschy T-shirts, choosing one to take home with me. I felt infinitely cool, finally plucking a cropped tee emblazoned with the Abbey Road cover art, wearing it to school with my Dr. Martens and chunky cardigans.
Though I only got to enjoy the tail end of dELiA*s heyday, I lived for the moment the catalog came in the mail, grabbing a Sharpie and circling each and every single thing I’d buy if money weren’t an issue. When my mom would break down and buy something, it became my new staple wardrobe piece. First, there were the fuchsia skinny jeans I wore with a checkerboard Zumiez hoodie, the closest I got to a scene phase without ever stepping foot in Hot Topic. Hattrick and I both gravitated toward dELiA*s denim selection for the same reason: They came in long lengths, up to a 36-inch inseam. “That meant a lot to me as a 6-foot-tall tween/teen who wanted to be edgy and alt,” she said.
Our staff writer Bailey Calfee jokes that dELiA*s fed her narcissism. “In middle school, when going to the mall was the only fun thing to do—and, in rural Alabama, it was truly the only fun thing to do—I would always scope out dELiA*s,” she said. One pair of jeans was always the object of her attention: the Bailey jeans, “which I wanted because I was and still am a narcissist, and I wanted a pair of pants named after myself.”
“I missed out on actually ordering from dELiA*s catalogs at their peak,” editorial intern Serena Devi recalls, “but the aesthetic, as immortalized in scans I reblogged on Tumblr as a teenager, heavily informed my present-day affinity for mesh and layering.” A Gen-Zer, Serena points to what keeps her love alive, even though she barely had the chance to truly embrace the store. “My fascination with dELiA*s is like a sort of misplaced nostalgia for the colorful, gamine whimsy its styles exemplified,” she said.
A few articles of clothing from my original dELiA*s days still linger in my closet—I’ve surely held onto that Beatles shirt, and a rogue white tulle midi skirt from the store’s final years seems too good to part with.
Now, I’m excited to be able to bolster my current wardrobe with the new generation of dELiA*s designs. They’re retro, full of bold rainbow colors and fun patterns, but they’re far from tacky. Now, with my own income, I won't have to go to my mom, clutching the freshly marked-up catalog, hoping she’d find an item or two to slip under the Christmas tree. And with Dolls Kill’s collection capping out at $88, I’m feeling very emboldened and ready to buy every damn faux fur coat and platform shoe.
Check out some of our favorite selections from the new dELiA*s by Dolls Kill line, below, and head over to Dolls Kill to snag your faves before they sell out.