A Collection Before Its Time…?

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis

Vogue December 1992

When Vogue Runway replaced Style.com earlier this month, fashion’s ‘new’ online hub heralded its launch by showcasing a clutch of ‘unforgettable’ catwalk collections from the ’90s, the decade before they first appeared on the internet.  And taking the top spot out of the twenty five shows featured was Marc Jacobs’ now infamous ‘grunge’ collection.

When the then 29 year old designer sent his spring 1993 collection down the catwalk for Perry Ellis, it in turn sent shockwaves through the industry, and subsequently got him fired from the New York label. But years later, the mood has significantly mellowed, and the consensus seems to be that it was simply a collection before its time.

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis Spring/Summer 1993

Looking at the clothes today, it’s difficult to see why they caused such a stir.  But back then,  glamour and luxury ruled the runways, and fashion’s great and good found it difficult to accept a collection that was less concerned with design and craftsmanship and more about capturing a mood.

Revered fashion critic Cathy Horyn, then at The Washington Post, complained about its “lack of credibility” and also wrote “Rarely has slovenliness looked so self-conscious, or commanded so high a price”, while Bernadine Morris described in The New York Times how “A typical outfit looks as if it were put together with the eyes closed in a very dark room”.

But fashion has now turned full circle, and is less about creating that perfect piece and more focused towards reflecting the times. The commercial success currently being enjoyed at Saint Laurent has been attributed to creative director Hedi Slimane’s canny ability to capture the mood of the moment in his collections – while his clothes may not be considered revolutionary, it’s how they are styled and the attitude they command that have helped to make the label a hit.

Saint Laurent Autumn/Winter 2015

It’s now over twenty years since Marc Jacobs’ ‘grunge’ collection rocked the runway. And Cathy Horyn has just recently gone on record to reflect on her original review. You can read her very honest piece written for The Cut  here

Image Credits: Vogue / Vogue Runway



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