Having spent part of my childhood in Seattle, I should be a downpour of information regarding all things Grunge. Sadly, the rain only drizzles in the Emerald City and so does my knowledge of this “state of being covered in unclean things;” at least that is how The Free Dictionary defines it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was too young to understand the musical movement. At the time, I was preoccupied with Super Mario Kart and a different bleached blonde, Zack Morris, and his sweaters. I also worshiped shampoo and conditioner — Salon Selectives were a ritual like bedtime prayer. Maybe those were reasons I could have cared less for Grunge; I did not “Smell(s) Like Teen Spirit” since I was still a kid, and I believed in showers. But despite over-conditioned hair, Grunge has re-bloomed during the 2013 fashion season like the florals on a granny dress (could be Bottega Veneta or perhaps Salvation Army,) so an education on fashion’s Courtney Love/hate relationship with the trend is in session. A double shot of espresso please!
In its very humble thrift-store beginning, Grunge was not a fashion statement. Music aside, it was more like a depression that plagued the youth stemming from feelings of helplessness. Grunge feared the future and in a way, it was a type of dissonant chord in the ascending socioeconomic melody of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The movement rejected materialism and gave the big “FU” to commercialism and corporations. Sorry Starbucks, but you sold out. There was a desire for freedom from the greed and glamour that had corrupted the moral and creative playgrounds — the music preceding Grunge was not about the dialogue between the artist and the audience but about the glam and pyrotechnics; just as coffee was no longer about the beans or the roast but about turning it into a frappuccino.
And so an attitude of not making a statement in itself became a statement, and being pissed off and depressed paved way for a culture that forfeited wealth and embraced an angst-induced sound. Think Pearl Jam or maybe Soundgarden. No, I am not talking about types of Comme des Garçons prints, but bands such as Nirvana that shot to celebrity-icon status like an intense rush of heroin. And like an addiction to caffeine, the stripped-down fashion of the stripped-down music became the fashion world’s drug of choice in the early 90’s. Thus, the so-called anti-capitalist movement permeated into the mainstream and found commercial success. Goodwill out. Marc Jacobs in.
Grunge aesthetes revolved around an “unkempt” look, and a subculture of flannel, ripped jeans, grandpa sweaters and granny frocks was brought to a mass culture by the fashion industry. I find it contradictory how obtaining a thrift-store vibe became sooooo costly, well, at least it was dry-cleaned! What I admire most about Grunge is its effortless, I don’t give a sh*t silhouette. I could literally layer mismatched prints, a hoodie, and Chuck Taylors and still be snapped by a Scott Schuman or a Phil Oh. (I have to admit that sometimes you have to move mountains to look effortless, at least for me since my interpretation involves a shower, a comb, and half a can of hairspray.) Pursed lips aside, I am excited how the trend has received a mature update for the SS13 and FW13-14 seasons. No more smelling like teen spirit, but smelling like Chanel N°5 or some other expensive l’eau de parfum. Now, the scent of Grunge has diffused into fashion industry nostrils with Dries Van Noten and Saint Laurent as this year’s Kurt and Courtney. Wake up and smell the florals!
Hands down Dries Van Noten’s SS13 collection is like the “Miss World” track off Hole’s Live Through This album. Mr. Van Noten has glamorized the so-called antithesis to glamour with a collection that reconceptualized dishevelment into effortless beauty. He brought the working-class flannel into the upper-class by applying the print onto luxurious fabrics like taffeta and organza. The collection was ultimately a romanticized vision of Kurt Cobain in a floral dress, but I believe his clothing extends beyond the bleached hair and dark roots — the show was a revelation of beauty. His pairing of plaids with embroidered florals and herringbone brought a freshness to mismatching and layering; perhaps it made some Vogue editors reconsider their hate for the trend back in the early 90’s. Van Noten took Grunge, gave it a shower, and brought it to a grown-up center stage. On the other hand, Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent targeted a youthful audience with his take on the Pacific Northwest aesthetic.
Truth be told that Hedi Slimane’s FW13-14 collection has somewhat of an Urban Outfitters vibe to it. I wonder if he has full artistic control of his designs at Saint Laurent — that is not an insult! After all, his collection favors the more safe and sellable as opposed to being a creative risk. There was just no OMFG factor when the models walked onto the runway. In my opinion, Mr. Slimane’s collection is a resurrection (not a revival) of the Grunge trend. He has infused the collection with the essence of Courtney Love constructing impeccable attire with a price tag to match. Perhaps Hedi’s feelings toward the fashion industry runs parallel to that of Grunge youth: does he fear the future of fashion and in turn reacted with a collection that was more nostalgic of the past instead of innovated for the future such as a Margiela or a Kawakubo? I mean he does socially alienate himself from Suzy Menkes which is characteristic of the Grunge persona, right? Although said Ms. Menkes was not allowed to see the show consisting of baby doll and floral dresses, slips and oversized cardigans, the collection became commercially successful nonetheless — a direct contradiction to the Grunge philosophy. But it comes to no surprise that fashion is a business and turns lemons into lemonade, or in this case a Jamba Juice franchise.
Lately, as I look out from my Hell’s Kitchen window, I see nothing but grey skies. Maybe the Seattle overcast has followed me — but I swear it rains more in New York than in Kurt Cobain’s hometown. By the way, television always depicts pouring rain in Seattle-set shows, I would like to go on record as to having no memory of ever using an umbrella in Seattle. Sorry Grey’s Anatomy, but your show is obviously fiction. And though I never considered myself Grunge (the closest I ever got was watching Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert,) my closet is like a venti, triple-shot, red eye of plaid, flannel, check, gingham, and tartan. I just need to add a floral dress and a pair of combat boots. Goodwill, Here. I. Come!
One of the many attributes of Grunge style is layering. The mismatched, the better. Take some of your favorite SS13 prints and wear them with ease. Just make sure you take a shower!! Can you assign a designer to each print?
GIVENCHY — METAL STAR-TRIMMED LEATHER HIGH TOP SNEAKER
Keeping up with Kanye. The rapper gets a gold star for his winning choice of label. Boost your ego by sporting these Givenchy kicks and leaving Kimmie with one of the Kris(s).
- PRICE: $685.00
- WHERE TO BUY: http://www.MrPorter.com
DSQUARED2 — GREEN LEATHER CLASSIC COLLEGE TASSLED PENNY LOAFERS
Outside of Oz, Emerald is trending even after the St. Patrick’s Day drunks have sobered up. Follow the Pantone color of the year somewhere over the rainbow and into your spring wardrobe.
- PRICE: $495.00
- WHERE TO BUY: http://www.Ssense.com
Color often provides us answers to questions even before they are asked. Gold at a track event translates into a first place win, baby pink in the hospital means “it’s a girl,” and robin egg blue at a wedding suggests that the Mr. and new Mrs. are receiving a gift from Tiffany’s. But in Roman Catholicism, color does not only function on symbolism, it also paints a hierarchical picture — priests don black and bishops are cloaked in violet while cardinals (essentially bishops with additional privileges,) are swaddled in that iconic red hue. However, the most potent color emerging from that rainbow is colorless, or rather white, and this is limited to the Pope.
In physics, white is not considered a color; it is defined as a combination of all colors of the visible light spectrum. I believe it is quite metaphorical when interpreting religious symbolism thru a scientific fact. The Pope has multiple titles such as the Bishop of Rome, Parish Priest of la Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, and before being exalted the Supreme Pontiff, he was an appointed cardinal. Therefore, the Pope is a metaphor for all the religious hues represented in the church — he is the so-called light of the church.
In celebration of yesterday’s white smoke and the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the newly crowned Pope, I think it is time for fashion heresy, since the dogmas already established are infallible. White has proven to be one of the biggest trends of the season, and it is a breath of fresh air in an industry that has been dominated by color, patterns, prints, and embellishments (leave that to the cathedrals.) White is pure and holy. It is a First Communion or a Virgin (?) Bride. It is the colorless color perfect for the Successor of St. Peter.
Pope Francis, like St. Francis of Assisi, is a simple man, so he would be an ideal muse for either Maison Martin Margiela’s or Rick Owens’ SS 2013 collections. The former created a cassock-like liturgical gown perfect for a pope while the latter could offer him a blouson that would give him the illusion of a much needed waist. But these would be off-duty looks in comparison to his priestly vestments. During liturgy, Pope Francis could adorn Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2013 collection. Karl Lagerfeld has created a silhouette resembling a mantum, a pope’s long cloak, which would give him an imperial air. However, I think he would be more comfortable in the vintage Balenciaga Butterfly Evening Coat circa 1968 since it reflects his muy simple personality. A papal makeover would be incomplete without ornate regalia, and Dolce & Gabbana’s FW 2013-14 collection could accessorize the look with a golden crown and pectoral staff.
If I were to go all Rachel Zoe on the pope, I would definitely put him in Givenchy SS13 and bring him into the current century. There is something about religious icons printed on ethereal fabrics that would definitely give him some street cred. Besides, I was hoping that Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director of Givenchy, would be the next pope. But with the recent revelation that Pope Benedict XVI’s loafers were not made by Prada, I am not surprised. So, I would like to wish some words of wisdom from The Little Prince to the Prince of the Apostles: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
GET THE PAPAL INSPIRED LOOK: