In 1992, Marc Jacobs (for Perry Ellis) debuted his infamous grunge collection. It caused an absolute sensation in every regard. The press was smitten; they loved the irony of transforming street fashion into high fashion. Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain were horrified and famously burned the pieces Marc Jacobs sent them. And Perry Ellis, the conservative company that had just hired Jacobs, was alarmed enough to fire him (even though he had won the coveted CFDA award in 1992.) Even with all the attention the collection garnered, Perry Ellis never manufactured any of the clothing and the collection never made it into the stores (so don’t be looking for it on eBay; it doesn’t exist.)
But grunge had a lasting influence. I’m in California for a couple of weeks, and all I’m feeling is grunge, grunge, grunge. I want to wear short babydoll dresses with Doc Martens and scrunchy socks, ripped jeans and thermal shirts and layered sheer floral prints. It’s almost 20 years since Kurt Cobain’s death (in my experience, it takes exactly two decades for fashion revivals to occur) and grunge is back; in fact, on the laid-back West Coast, it never really went away.
When my daughter was born in 1994, my husband said, “She’s post-grunge.” That was the year after Nirvana unplugged on MTV, grunge’s death knell. But now she’s combing thrift shops for crinkly rayon dresses, flannel shirts and combat boots. So am I; stop into Chelsea Girl in September and see if you’re feeling it, too. -ELISA