Twenty-five years ago, Marc Jacobs was designing the historic Grunge collection for Perry Ellis’ SS93 collection. Historic because starter of a big trend in the fashion industry, that today, is given for granted. Jacobs dressed Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss and many others among the most iconic super models of the 90s, in buttoned up floral dresses, stripy t-shirts and silk shirts resembling the tartan shirts characteristic of that period. A look belonging to the culture of the West Coast of the United States, where in that period, the Grunge music and style launched by Nirvana was spreading.
It was one of the first times that a look from the street was brought on high fashion runways (like Alexander McQueen will start doing soon), making Marc Jacobs one of the pioneers of the streetwear phenomenon.
The collection received many critiques. The New York Times defined it as a collection that “mixes everything up. . . A typical outfit looks as if it were put together with the eyes closed in a very dark room.”. “Grunge is anathema to fashion” said Cathy Horyn, “and for a major Seventh Avenue fashion house to put out that kind of statement at that kind of price point is ridiculous”. “Grunge is about not making a statement, which is why it’s crazy for it to become a fashion statement.”, and also, “Grunge: 1992–1993, R.I.P. . . . For many, Marc Jacobs’s grunge fashion collection was the final shove”, as New York Magazine commented.
And it was the final shove. The collection never went into production, Jacobs sent some samples to Kurt Cobain and Courtuney Love, that later declared in an interview with WWD: “We burned it. We were punkers – we didn’t like that kind of thing”.
Marc Jacobs was fired a few weeks after the discussed show but won the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year and realized what remains one of his favorite collections:
“it was the first time I was unwavering in my determination to see my vision come to life on the runway without creative compromise” – Marc Jacobs
The collection remains among the most iconic of the designer, who decided to give it a second chance in his Resort 2019 ‘Marc Jacobs Redux’, available online from this month. The collection was entirely reproduced with the original materials and accessories (including Dr Martens boots) and proposed again with a casting that has little to envy to the original one. Gigi Hadid, Slick Woods and Binx Walton are protagonists of the lookbook shot by Juergen Teller, frequent collaborator od the brand.
Text by Enrica Miller