Recently, we went to check out The Model as Muse, the latest exhibit at the costume institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Out of the oodles of cool fashion selected from the past 60 years, we were surprised to be struck so hard by the 90s room. “Smells like Teen Spirit” was pumping through the speakers, a graffiti mural in the style of Stephen Sprouse encircled the room and, on a mock rock concert stage, were mannequins wearing early 90s looks from Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis.
When Marc Jacobs was picked as Perry Ellis’ successor, he was hailed as a wunderkind. But, it would only be a few short years before his infamous “grunge” collection got him fired from the label. If you want a good look at said collection, check out the music video for Sonic Youth’s “Sugar Kane” which features Jacobs, the show and a pre-Kids Chloe Sevigny.
Arguably, the 90s saw a shift in creative activity to the West Coast (the Seattle music scene, gangsta rap, Clueless, pogs?) If it was cool in the 90s, it usually took place near the Pacific Ocean (see: 90210, Melrose Place, Bayside High, Liberty High School.) But, Jacobs’ collection takes a decidedly New York-y approach to the grunge scene. There’s a fair bit of black-and-white mixed in with the plaid flannel.
A lot has been written already about the 90s being the new 80s, but we’ve really still not seen it executed in a great looking way, sans irony. A real added bonus to the “grunge look” is that it works on a variety of body-types. Another is that it shouldn’t cost you a lot of cash. Remember, spending money and showing off wealth were decidedly uncool in the early 90s (that was what The Man did, man!)
Here’s something else that was happening in the early 90s: Economic recession. Sound familiar?
For another look at the Perry Ellis show, plus Anna Sui and more, check out this video. . .