Photo by Mark Lim

How Is it That These Clothes From 1993 Are Exactly What We Need Right Now?

Marc Jacobs has reissued the grunge collection that got him fired — and 25 years later, the world is ready for it.
Nov 09, 2018 @ 3:30 pm

Of all the delightful bits of fashion history and lore, one legend stands above the rest: that of Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis. It was November of 1993 when Jacobs, the designer at Perry Ellis, sent the most super of ‘90s supermodels (Carla Bruni, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Tyra Banks, Shalom Harlow, and Kristen McMenamy among them) down the runway in an assortment of slouchy beanies, cropped tees, pear-printed chiffony wrap dresses, and flannels — the polar opposite of the glamour that ruled the ‘80s. The grunge collection, inspired by youth culture in Seattle, did not go over well. At all.

Buyers and editors were horrified. Suzy Menkes, who at the time was the fashion critic at the International Herald Tribune, declared “Grunge is Ghastly,” supposedly distributing buttons with the slogan. Fashion critic Cathy Horyn wrote, “Grunge is anathema to fashion, and for a major Seventh Avenue fashion house to put out that kind of statement at that kind of price point is ridiculous.” (She has since changed her mind.) It seemed, to those in attendance, that rather than design a collection, Jacobs had simply gone thrift shopping and tried to pass it off as fashion.

The designer was swiftly fired from his post at Perry Ellis but, according to statements, Jacobs was never more sure of his work and his decisions. (“The ‘Grunge’ collection epitomized the first time in my professional career I was unwavering in my determination to see my vision come to life on the runway, without creative compromise,” he said recently.) Shortly thereafter, Grace Coddington styled a grunge-inspired editorial for American Vogue, and the trend took off.

Never one to shy away from embarrassing moments (remember when Jacobs made T-shirts poking fun of a sext he mistakenly posted to Instagram?), he’s re-releasing the entire collection this fall exactly as it went down the runway 25 years ago. And judging from the reaction online, everyone loves it.

"It’s been 25 years since the original collection, and my team and I were excited about the idea of revisiting something that has been part of our design aesthetic throughout the years," Jacobs said to InStyle about his decision to bring the collection back. According to a press release, "26 key looks are reissued in their entirety, from head-to-toe, offering RTW, jewelry, shoes and accessories, all made in the original prints, fabrics and embroideries." This includes socks ($35), cardigans ($325), Dr. Martens ($220), and dresses ($550), all available to shop on November 15 on MarcJacobs.com. Until then, you can head there to see every single item, and place your pre order now.

Photographer: Mark Lim. Styling: Laurel Pantin. Hair: Yoichi Tomizawa. Makeup: Deanna Melluso. Manicure: Riwako Kabayashi. Models: Chey and Stephanie Joy Field at New York Models.