Stripped down, cool.
Flipping the glamour narrative.
Anyone else recall Marc Jacob’s historic grunge collection in 1993 for Perry Ellis? You know, the own which got him fired which, in turn, led to the conceptualisation and birth of Marc Jacobs, the brand we all know (and worship) today? It was a ballsy move indeed. Introducing a sartorial grammar so far removed from the excessive, maximalist life of debauchery of the time, that few understood any of the words uttered, let alone speak it. A move filled with bravado, yes, and a significant one in the movement we now coin being “fashion mimicking the street“. I’m fairly confident that concept is not new to most of us.
For the next two decades, MJ’s radical grunge runway was emblematic of a collection-before-its-time, a raw, revolutionary response to what was a similarly raw decade.
R E N E G A D E D R E S S I N G
The advent of youth culture (as grunge was called in those early days) arrived at the high tide of grunge, which ushered in a stripped-down, DIY approach to style. Thrift stores replaced designer labels, flannel with its mighty powers of gender-bending drapery successfully ousted synthetics, and the phenomenal success of music icons (the likes of Nirvana, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Missy Elliot) meant (al)most anything around them, from their sound to their distressed denim, was co-opted and crossed over.
Taking fashion literally from the streets.
IT CONTINUES TO DO SO EVEN IN THIS PRESENT DAY
Both on and off the grunge stage.
Personally, I think the real appeal of going grunge is that one can (and quite liberally too) pull garments from both ends of a male as well a female wardrobe. Double the closets, double the options, I always say, and I’d wager you’d agree with me too. When it first gained traction, grunge as a style of dressing epitomised an air of indifference towards appearance, clothes, and, generally the material world. In other words, it was characterised by carelessness, punctuated with comfort (yes, thank you), and easily recognised by details, by vibes which gave grunge outfits a worn-
out in, relaxed (sloppy, at times) appearance. Read: ripped jeans, thrift store treasures, oversized items of clothing, graphic tee shirts (more often than not with provocative and/or angsty statements), statement shoes (think combat boots), and that print we’ve all come to embrace, plaid.
Over the time, grunge has evolved, and even branched out, if you could call it that, into several sub-genre looks. I’m talking about indie grunge, neo grunge and glam grunge.
Neo grunge is essentially the same as the original, only polished, almost grown-up. A fresh interpretation that’s still slouchy and pared back but far more luxe, with a heavenly mix of glam touches, dark florals, and contrasting textures, working together to create a carefree, cool sight.
Glam grunge is feminine and sophisticated. Polished but still plenty rebellious in nature. Visual juxtapositions of long, sleek lines with rips in subtle, unexpected places. Delicately frayed edges with sequins, metallic accents, a glint here, a sheen there.
ALL WOMAN, ALL KICKASS
And there’s indie grunge (or hippie grunge), it stands out with its romantic, vintage vibe, yet completely exuding uptown aesthetics. It evokes careful use of separates, in a moodier palette, messy frays, paired with denim or suede or wool, all put together with cool-girl styling.
AND THEN I CAME UP WITH THIS OUTFIT
When Diane chose this theme, I knew immediately that I was going to attempt a glam grunge persona. I’m simply not cool enough to do neo (and pull off that who-gives-a-f*** attitude) nor sufficiently bohemian to grab that indie grunge bull by the horns. I thought of Courtney Love and Marc Jacob’s most recent collection (AW2016). A visually arresting show wherein head-to-toe black gathered stream as the key colour direction, resulting in a moody goth-meets-romance-meets-glam grunge mélange. Wherein he played with textures and layers (and brilliant accent colours) to elevate tonal ensembles, utilising lace, embellishment, and thoughtful juxtapositions of soft and hard to add depth and dimension.
I hope to have achieved that. And now, my friends, please join the Fab 40s (and guest) in beholding our individual interpretations of this month’s theme, Grunge.
Ann, Kremb de la Kremb
Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor
Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots
Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps
Sam, Fake Fabulous
Veronica, CID Style File
And now, please meet Sherry of Petite Over 40, our guest blogger for this month, and someone I absolutely adore for her mastery in not just putting together the most whimsy of outfits but the deft ability to massage and cajole the written word into lyrical prose. Simply put, I adore how she dresses, and I adore how she writes. Very much.
You will too once you go over to her blog and visit and view and read.
And then, there’s me being as rockstar queen as I can possibly muster.
Gexa Tee (Love, Courtney Love X Nasty Gal, option) | Lace Skirt (Free People (sold out), option, option) | Embroidered Leather Jacket (Blank NYC, option) | Leather Combat Booties (Bakers) | Slave Bracelet (Nasty Gal) | Choker (courtesy of Manic Panic NYC) | Ring (House of Harlow) | Tiara (Borneo) | Lipstick (courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury)
Do you grunge, baybee?
Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps.
p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.