Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.
Hedi Slimane‘s Saint Laurent.
Hate it or love it, but Hedi Slimane’s time at Saint Laurent was one of the most influential moments in fashion this decade. The designer not only completely rebranded the brand (from the name – no more Yves – to the worldwide store appearances), introduced new “brand ambassadors” (Courtney Love, Beck, Kim Gordon, Joni Mitchell AND Marilyn Manson, all photographed by the designer for ad campaigns) and infamously called out the critics just for being honest (the Cathy Horyn beef!), but also polarised the fashion industry into two camps: Hedi fanatics, who go crazy for his Celine today, and Hedi sceptics. The designer implemented a youthful, rock & roll and very L.A. mood to the label, sending down baby-doll dresses, vintage-looking floral frocks, super-mini skirts and heavy boots with the attitude of the most rebellious girl in town. One of the most memorable collections he “designed” for the house? Definitely the autumn-winter 2013 show. It was inspired with the lifestyle of Venice Beach, California, and nodded to Yves’ The Scandal Collection from 1971, which was called “notorious” and “disgusting” by its guests (but in the end became iconic). As Tim Blanks pointed out about this Slimane collection, “almost nothing looked new”. Sloppy cardigans, plaid shirts and sparkly dresses accessorized with strings of pearls and black bows. While grunge was long dead, Slimane brought it back to life, and what’s the most ironic – the entire collection was sold out, even though the price tags were far, far from the thrift store originals. Of course Marc Jacobs’ final Perry Ellis collection was first, but Slimane appeared to be in the right place and right time with this line-up. I’m still on fence with Slimane’s era at YSL, but one thing’s sure: it was much more disruptive (and naughty) than Anthony Vaccarello’s work today for tha maison.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Julien Dossena‘s spring-summer 2019 collection for Paco Rabanne was one of the season’s biggest highlights – which was, to be honest, an absolute surprise. With the designer’s equally good pre-fall 2019 look-book, it’s visible that Rabanne is going up, up and up in the ranks. The collection continues the boheme eclecticism from summer, but feels even more confident. It’s a clash of baroque and grunge – think floral tapestry prints and plaid shirts. It’s like the designer invites both Queen Elizabeth and Courtney Love to the table. Equestrian tailoring goes with checked pants, while tank-tops are worn over chainmail dresses (distinctly Rabanne piece, looking as innovative in 2019 as in the 60s). When you take off the tiara and stay with the daywear, this is a very approachable, chic wardrobe. But then, should we part with the tiara?
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
When Marc Jacobs presented his now iconic collection for Perry Ellis in 1993, he was rather close to being burned at the stake. Unapologetically grunge-isnpired, the collection went down with the leading critics and editors, except for Grace Goddington, who styled that equally (at the time) risky editorial for Vogue, visibly very obsessed with Jacobs’ bold move. Perry Ellis fired the designer right away, and became what it is today – a boring, apparel-focused brand for men. Quite unsurprisingly, the ‘true’ grunge world hated Jacobs for doing this collection, too, with Courtney Love and Curt Kobain reportedly burning the pile of clothing Marc designed with them in mind. But that’s history.
We’re in 2018, and Courtney Love’s daughter – Frances Bean Cobain – is one of the faces of Marc Jacobs, the brand. Even more ironic is the fact that Coco Gordon Moore, the daughter of Kim Gordon (aka grunge godmother) wears Jacobs’ newest collection called, wait for it: Redux Grunge. For resort 2019, the designer brings back 26 looks he designed for the controversial Grunge collection, now with his tag on them. The looks, shot by Juergen Teller (who used to be Marc’s long-time collaborator for years until 2014 – now might be back doing the ad campaigns!), are a testament to the brazenness and timelessness of the designer’s vision. They are as relevant today as they were revolutionary (or even infamous) 25 years ago. Well, that’s true – if not Jacobs, grunge would die with its subculture and never arrive to the mainstream. Crotchet cardigans, a midriff cutout knit dress as seen first on Kristen McMenamy (now on her daughter, Lily McMenamy), rainbow striped beanies, Dr. Martens boots, a cropped blazer baby Kate Moss would wear down the runway, chokers… well, it’s all pretty much identical. I can’t say it looks fresh – it isn’t the collection’s intention in the first place. But somehow, I like it, I like that free-spirited feeling being revived right now, at this moment. Still, it’s such a stark contrast to Jacobs’ saccharine and dramatic spring-summer 2019 collection… that you might really have problems with realising that one person can both do both, rough and sweet.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki, feauturing different visuals by Juergen Teller.
It seems that the New York fashion calendar is about to break down entirely. Some major designers show in Paris; some are coming back home, and to the regular schedule (Proenza Schouler is the latest); and some, like Alexander Wang, decide to show ahead of all, in the Big Apple, and persuade us, the confused viewers, not to call it spring-summer 2019 – but rather, the enigmatic ‘season 1’. Yes, I know that might be too much. But surprisingly, all those switches did good to Wang. Not that I adore his latest collection, but it’s so much better than his last seasons. At least, it’s not trying to mean too much as it did the last time with the Matrix-CEO theme.
The inspiration started with Alexander’s mum and dad taking a trip together, and their immigration to America. Still, the collection wasn’t meant to be overly political, so migration wasn’t the ultimate key here. The designer focused on the notion of more dynamic, risk-involving travelling, or rather riding. Maybe the attitude close to Lana Del Rey’s Ride music video might be a clue. In overall, the collection felt like a creative melting pot shaped from Wang’s experiences, fascinations and aesthetics. We’ve had the Axl Rose bandanas; motocross gears; leather mini skirts and ‘piercing’ tops made of pins; football jerseys. Is that the today’s grunge according to Alex? Who knows. Definitely, Wang felt a lot of joy, while designing the collection, as all of that is truly, but truly him.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.