“The Grunge Spirit, that feeling is always around and I’ve long preferred its alternative beauty,” Marc Jacobs once said.
A decade known well for ‘Anti Fashion’, the grunge look was born in the 1990s. Originating in the Seattle area of America it screamed an ‘I can’t be bothered' attitude, a style that was pioneered by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
The origin of grunge fashion came from a time of revolt against the capitalist excess of the eighties but also reflected the financial hardships of the times. The style combined elements of punk mixed with inexpensive clothing like denim and plaid fabrics. Anti-establishment dressing, grunge went against everything society wanted you to be.
The look has been adapted and modernised by the ‘Grunge Glitterati’. Kate Moss, the Olsen twins, Alexa Chung and Kristen Stewart to name a few. They represent effortless, unconventional glamour. From daywear that is edgy but comfortable, effortless but not sloppy, to eveningwear which is darkly beautiful without being polished, they manage to always give their looks a rock edge.The grunge style embodies a sense of nonchalant sexiness.
Once again the 90s grunge trend makes a comeback to our Autumn Winter catwalks, but not without a revived aesthetic. This season’s grunge has a hint of glamour with a new contemporary sleekness and attention to detail. It explores the feminine side that exudes sex appeal and gives uniqueness and originality to individual style.
Helmut Lang’s Autumn Winter 2012 collection had rebelliousness and sex appeal written all over it. It interpreted one of the most recent decades past by sending models down the catwalk in updated adaptations of nineties grunge. The designs showed a modern take on the trend by incorporating signature prints like plaid, loosely structured knits, edgy leathers and fitted draped monochrome dresses with a sprinkling of the on-trend ‘ox blood’ colour. Influenced by iconic bands like Nirvana and Garbage, this collection was both empowered and feminine.It represented the key contrasts within this trend; dark but feminine, strong but vulnerable.
Proenza Schouler’s catwalk creations included a white poplin jacquard dress with an angular hem which had a paper touch look with a stark toughness that was equally delicate. A prim collared burgundy shirtdress was worn under a basket woven black leather jacket, plaid intarsia knits with leather minis and fur collared boyfriend-fit biker jackets worn with unstructured leather trousers. This collection was the embodiment of ‘cool’ and explored the art of dressing up versus the art of dressing down.
Wear it well: my must-haves
The nineties are back in a big way and grunge is on trend. Channel your inner Courtney Love, embracing this look with attitude.
You can either hunt for vintage items or buy new from places like Urban Outfitters, Zara or Topshop. Think Kristen Stewart unisex dress-down days and Kate Moss’s version of dress-up ‘cool’.
I have illustrated below my selected key pieces from the High Street.