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March 13, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Editor’s note: Steven Dolan, a University of Washington student, is interning for our opinion section and contributing to our Opinion Northwest blog.
Is there anything less typical of Parisian style than the loose layers and intentionally impoverished look of grunge?
A fashion show under the house started by Yves Saint Laurent — just called Saint Laurent now — challenged such preconceptions in Paris on Monday. Hedi Slimane’s second ready-to-wear show for the iconic French label was built on flannels, cardigans and baby-doll dresses in various florals. Slimane cited “California grunge” as an inspiration, though the movement is rooted in the Pacific Northwest.
Grunge as a music movement emerged in the Pacific Northwest in the mid-to-late ’80s and peaked in the ’90s. The music was angst-ridden and disenchanted with society at large and its fashion style reflected those ideas. Grunge was anti-high fashion.
Slimane’s collection draws from the past — which is entirely valid — but doesn’t offer anything new.
Dana Landon, creator of It’s My Darlin’, a Seattle street-style blog says that grunge is entirely relevant in the way people in the Pacific Northwest dress today, calling the integration of grunge elements part of “the uniform of twenty-somethings in Seattle.”
“I think that it used to be a style and now it’s almost ingrained in how everybody in Seattle dresses a little bit,” she said. She went on to cite Portland and parts of New York as places grunge has influenced style.
Combat boots and plaid flannel shirts, two of the major elements of grunge, were very visible in Slimane’s Saint Laurent collection. As Landon says, this is a look we’ve seen before.
Design should push people. To paraphrase Diana Vreeland, image-makers should give consumers something they didn’t even know they wanted.