Red Alert: Sibyl Buck, Style Icon

A Love Letter to the ‘90s Anti-Supermodel

In the ‘90s, Cindy, Linda, Naomi, Christy, Claudia, and Tatjana ruled the runway. They defined #squadgoals long before anyone else did on social media: fashion’s dream team, each with her own allure before the camera. While most eyes were on them, Sibyl Buck arrived - eye candy for the pierced and tattoo set. Though naturally a brunette, her dyed, bright red hair set the catwalk on fire; her entire look screamed rebellion and unconventionality.

She embraced the age of grunge before anyone called it grunge, wearing oversized overalls, bulky jeans, buffalo plaids and Doc Martens. Her tomboyishness/androgyny/blurred gender lines mingled well with touches of badass femininity: she could skateboard, play bass guitar and sing. Her hair was short sometimes, her hair was long with dreadlocks at other times, she had septum and tongue piercings and yet, the fashion world embraced the sum of her parts, like she was a mishmash of clashing patterns that somehow worked well together. Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Chanel all worked with her. She also managed to be a correspondent for the European version of MTV’s House of Style, called Stylissimo. And she acted briefly with a role in the film, “The Fifth Element,” with costumes designed by none other than Jean-Paul Gaultier.

A few years ago, The Cut did a story on Sibyl that didn’t do my girl crush justice. The article neglected to mention that Sibyl is currently a yoga instructor and a mother. Her daughter, Puma Rose, appears to be following in her footsteps. Last year, Proenza Schouler featured Sibyl and Puma Rose in a short video (“PS I Love You”) about women and their relationships and how they inspire each other. i-D magazine wrote about the video and called them, “cool mom Sibyl Buck and her cool daughter Puma Rose.”   

After roughly 20 years of retiring from the fashion industry, Sibyl’s cool and quirky legacy endures--through her daughter and designers willing to employ risk takers. And when I think about the women who have influenced my personal style over the years, Sibyl is at the top: she had me at her non-conformist and colorful hello.