Just in case any of you would like to see some of the things I write for uni, here's a 350-word "Fashion Moment" I had to write for my Fashion & Popular Culture class. All comments/criticism is welcome :)
An adverse reaction to the yuppie-invaded, label-obsessed, blinged-out eighties, grunge was ignited by bands from Seattle such as Nirvana and Soundgarden expressing the angst and frustration of a whole youth movement.
Oversized jumpers, mussed-up hair and secondhand clothes marked the appearance of a generation that didn’t care about looking work-appropriate, favouring authenticity and comfort over sophistication.
Clothes were bought cheap in secondhand and thrift stores, preceding the vintage trend of today.
Marc Jacobs, “the guru of grunge”, recalled how he “ found a two-dollar flannel shirt (...) and (...) had it made into a $300 a yard plaid silk” for his now infamous 1993 Spring/Summer collection for Perry Ellis. Luxury grunge was born.
A different style of fashion editorial emerged, with a pared-down, nonchalant atmosphere and sulky faces rather than exaggerated poses, as seen in the iconic 1992 Vogue editorial “Grunge and Glory” shot by Steven Meisel. Subjects were now on a more intimate and vulnerable level with the viewer. Photographers such as Juergen Teller, David Sims and Corinne Day became household names through this genre.
The rise of grunge fashion also spawned a new body aesthetic: heroin chic. In contrast to the curvaceous and healthy looking supermodel of the eighties, the typical grunge model such as Kate Moss had a sullen look and an androgynous, if not emaciated, body.
It was about looking like (and in some sad cases also being) a slightly depressed, strung-out-on-heroin soul.
Nowadays, Doc Martens, layering, plaid flannel shirts and torn tights are more popular than ever, as seen on Taylor Momsen or Alice Dellal.
Designer-of-the-moment Christopher Decarnin featured ripped jumpers and trousers in the Spring 2010 collection for Balmain, while up-and-comer Alexander Wang has featured beanie hats and slouchy cardigans on his Fall 2008 and Spring 2010 runways.
Overall, the silhouettes have become more streamlined, luxurious and body-conscious. Distressed jeans are now skintight and a Balmain destroyed jersey T-shirt costs more than £800.
Buried underneath layers of oversized and ripped clothing is the heart of a movement that didn't care about making any sort of fashion statement or appealing to the mainstream, but inevitably ended up morphing into the exact thing it strived against.