Over time a lot of designers have drawn influence from the grunge aesthetic, whether in a glaringly obvious or manner or by using subtle inspirations.
Marc Jacobs epitomizes the high-end of grunge fashion, with a collection that challenged the subcultures values so much that it contributed to its downfall, but also put it on the fashion map for good.
In 1986 Jacob’s designed his first collection with the Marc Jacobs label, mainly hand knitted jumpers and with the signature being mainly 'classic American sports wear'. In 1989 Jacobs and business partner Robert Duffy joined Perry Ellis. This partnership then sparked a whole new look to Jacob’s collections. His collections seemed more daring and fun compared to when he first started his own label.
Marc Jacob’s collection for Perry Ellis was a series of landmark designs that shocked and thrilled alike, but what exactly what is that got tongues wagging and Jacobs fired? The collection was heavily inspired by the Grunge movement of the late 80’s/early 90’s which was around the time the collection itself was brought out. Marc himself had a grunge style, and this was reflected in the collection, which featured flannel shirts, Doc Martens and other items that made a very obvious visual link to the grunge movement. Jacob’s himself described the collection as “a little fucked-up” (which was probably the reasoning Perry Ellis had when they fired him) and many would have agreed that bringing a dressed down, thrift store look to the catwalk and then trying to charge hundreds of pounds for women to wear it was slightly ludicrous – but critics began talking, a zeitgeist for high-fashion grunge.
Jacob’s collection drew so heavily on grunge that a lot of it was basically just replication of items of clothing from the grunge movement with a slightly high end twist, for example thermals but made out of cashmere, and this is what worried a lot of people, including the powers at Perry Ellis – the collection was TOO similar to the original movement, making it easier to achieve on a lower budget.
Jacob’s began designing for LVMH in 1997. There’s a strict line in Jacobs’s mind separating the Marc Jacobs woman from the woman who is very Vuitton. However, Jacobs continues to inject elements of grunge into his designs for Vuitton, particularly witnessed in his AW11 collection with grunge-influenced oversized sweaters worn over luxurious garments.
This begs the question, is this just a subculture for people who can afford it?