1993 Grunge Collection
After the 1993 Ready-To-Wear show which celebrated and infused the post-Punk aesthetics from the slouched beanies to layered clothing, Marc Jacobs stresses for a necessary return of the Grunge world with a revival of his revolutionary Grunge collection- A collection which originally got him fired but created a new beginning for the American designer and his diffusion line.
The classical Grunge look has always been regarded as ‘dirty,’ raw, drowning in gloomy shades and constantly referred back to depression and social alienation – that was until Marc (who was creative director at Perry Ellis at the time) was the first in the fashion industry to introduce this subcultural movement in the Seattle music scene which has now evolved into a ‘streetwear’ trend. Rather than pairing a thin strapped maxi dress with a washed out jumper underneath, Marc has seen light to this popular style and swapped the dark underclothes for a pop of colour.
The Grunge movement became prominent in the music scene with 90s American rock band, Nirvana as the pioneers who expressed the new attitude towards nonconformity through their lyrics. Being aware of the social and political issues at the time was paramount. Nearly every design in his look-book features a monochrome look; alongside the notorious combat boots which the designer decided to collaborate with English footwear brand, Dr.Martens who are known for these best selling shoes. On the Marc Jacobs website, the collection is described as wanting to represent, ‘authenticity, acceptance, freedom, tolerance.’ Loose and free-spirited silhouettes were purposely created as a reflection on the idea of nonconformity. Just like the 1993 collection, it has been exclusive only to women.
A major fashion figure on the Punk and Grunge scene, the unapologetically wild singer with her confrontational lyrics, challenged the idea of how a 90s woman should dress. Far from simple, sophisticated looks and respectable in terms of her inappropriate lengthed skirts and dresses; Courtney Love’s confidence and blasé attitude birthed a new decade for 90s fashion. Messy hair to match her untamed personality, to babydoll dresses, donned with laddered tights – a personal look which reflected her family’s economic lifestyle would soon grab the attention of designers such as Hedi Slimane for Yves Saint Laurent and Gianni Versace. Wife of famous Rock N Roll musician, Kurt Cobain, has unintentionally popularised her signature look (the little slip dress) which has graced the runways of Paco Rabanne’s SS18 collection as well as Peter Pilotto for SS18. “I was a street kid for a long time and couldn’t afford anything other than thrift store vintage clothing — little slip dresses I wore for around 10 years,” she mentions in The Evening Standard.
The plaid shirts have remained at the forefront of defining this subculture, but 25 years later, marketing strategies have also grown and found their place in the milieu of fashion designer’s businesses including Marc Jacob’s. After 25 years, whether his relaunch is more to do with realising how influential and beneficial this subculture has become to high-fashion labels such as his, rather than proving and justifying why the world needs this ‘now;’ is a question we should all be asking ourselves.
What started out as a style for individuals to feel comfortable in what they wore, (despite the fact that it was rejected by society and seen as a radical fashion choice) has now been ripped and sold as high fashion. It is difficult to understand where Marc draws the line between appreciating Grunge for its music and history, and iterating and embellishing a movement which exploded during the 90s. How you choose to perceive this relaunch as either a genuine message regarding social issues or simply wanting to glamorise a subculture is entirely up to you.
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