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.
Here we’re again – at the New York Fashion week, the starting point of fashion month marathon. And who’s on the first shot? Chris Leba‘s rebellious R13. Launched in 2009, R13 was firstly associated with denim and apparel essentials like plaid shirts and tank-tops. Right now, it’s on the same sporty-grunge-cool shelf as Rag & Bone or Alexander Wang, reviving the 90s and sparking New York’s all-night party mood. Leba’s autumn-winter 2017 collection was nearly, but NEARLY, like one of those perfectly curated Tumblrs filled with nostalgic photos of Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain (the latter’s face was placed on one of the extra-big sweatshirts) and Kate Moss doing cocaine. But – thanks God – it didn’t fall into a cliché, which heavily hit last season’s designers. Although there were floral-print slip dresses and shearling jackets, R13 felt different, the attitude of these clothes was real. Tailored coats, over-sized chunky knits, semi-Victoriana collar shirts – this is precisely how a New York model scout or editor would dress today. From brilliant model cast (Lera Abova, Jamie Bochert, Julia Banas to name a few) to styling, Leba’s entry to the new season is a success.