When Rebelde premiered in 2004, teenagers in Latin America, the US, and other parts of the world (or maybe it was just me) wanted to study at the Elite Way School. The Televisa telenovela – starring Anahí, Dulce María, Poncho Herrera, and Christopher von Uckermann – was one of the biggest sensations of the early aughts. From the fashion (think mini skirts and boots as a school uniform) to the music – RBD launched after the success of the novela – to the protagonists’ sometimes questionable antics (the characters were pretty snobby), Rebelde captured an audience that was already geeking out over the earlier Argentine version.
And though there’s a lot that contributed to the success of this TV show, fashion is one of the ways it’s cemented its place in novela history. Thanks to costume designer Gabriela Ortiz, Hector Flores, and José Tapia, the young cast – many of them teens and in their early 20s – dressed the way you’d expect rebellious, privileged teens to dress. And with the characters taking inspiration from the likes of Mean Girls and Clueless, it’s only logical that some of that would guide their wardrobe, too.
While they mostly wore uniforms, which changed every season, the women of Rebelde each had their own distinct style, which strongly reflected their individual personalities. Mia Colucci – who regularly wore a star sticker on her forehead – was the Regiona George of the Elite Way School, while Roberta Pardo was the rebellious rocker. There was also Lupita, who started as an innocent nerd and quickly evolved into a more expressive member of the group. And, of course, there was the grupera Alma Rey, played by real-life singer Ninel Conde, who didn’t believe in subtle as she draped herself in bedazzled fringe and ranchera hats.
Fourteen years later, the style on Rebelde – which is currently streaming on Netflix, btw – may not feel as timeless as La Usurpadora’s, but it’s still iconic in its own way. From the over-the-top looks to everyday style, here are the the top looks from the novela.
Roberta’s black on black on black outfit:
Highly inspired by the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle (what can we say, she knew her calling), Roberta had her fair share of questionable fashion. In season 1, she rocked the tricolor ombré that started off black and went from red to blonde. Her outfits were equally bizarre, with the character matching textures like denim and lace with graphic designs. But at the same time, we can’t say there was anything boring about her looks.
The season 2 uniform
For season 2, the uniform changed at the Elite Way School. Although they stuck to the usual blazer, tie, and mini skirt combo, they added knee-high socks and Mary Jane-style shoes. The cast also sported suspenders, which they never wore the right way, and a beret.
Alma Rey's costumes
Alma Rey was a true superstar. Part of her brand was to show the grupera diva life, even as she picked up her daughter Roberta at school. On stage, her costumes were exuberant, glitzy, and provocative, and were often combined with a hat or boots.
Roberta's body paint and Alma's monokini
Roberta certainly had her rebelde phase. In this scene, featured in the first episode of Rebelde, she defied her mom and appeared on the cover of a magazine dressed only in body paint and a bikini bottom. Alma’s outfit was also iconic, as it symbolized the era of monokinis and because she went the extra mile.
Mia's multiple cardigan and brooch combos
Mia’s character was definitely inspired by Cher Horowitz and Regina George. Her style was quite preppy and she often matched cardigans with flower brooches on top of tube crop tops. Props to Elite Way School for letting them express their individuality with their uniforms.
Alma's wedding dress
Spoiler alert: Alma marries Mia’s dad. In the end, the two archenemies Mia and Roberta became step sisters. When Alma married Franco Colucci, she didn’t leave her extravagant self on the shelf. She chose a white halter dress with voluminous veil, bedazzled crown, and giant chandelier earrings.
Mia and Roberta's birthday looks
If Mia Colucci was the mean girl, then her nemesis was Roberta. Ironically, the two were born on the same day, and had a birthday party together, courtesy of their crazy rich parents. Their outfits were reflective of their personalities, perhaps more than any other scene in Rebelde. While Mia wore a pink halter dress with embroidered butterflies and flowers (matching tiara included), Roberta opted for a black floor-length dress with matching heels.
Mia’s obsession with tiaras was consistent throughout the whole show. This time, she had a surprise fashion show to humiliate some of her classmates. She wore a black satin coat with tall boots and headband-style tiara – all from her dad’s fictitious clothing line.
Roberta's yellow bikini
Roberta’s style was also quite eclectic, as she often put together items that didn’t make sense but somehow made it work. This time, she wore a yellow bikini (for some people that tends to be enough) and accessorized it with a ranchera hat and blue sarong and cowboy boots.
The season 1 uniform
Rebelde’s season 1 uniform is the most iconic outfit, because it introduced the world to a group of privileged teenagers who hated each other and never really did homework. They had two versions – one red, white and blue, and another black, red, and blue.