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Saint Laurent: 20 Years Later, Grunge Is a Selling Point

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Left: Marc Jacobs Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis. Right: Hedi Slimane's Fall 2013 collection for Saint Laurent.
Left: Marc Jacobs Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis. Right: Hedi Slimane's Fall 2013 collection for Saint Laurent.

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Twenty years ago, Marc Jacobs sent a grunge-inspired Spring '93 collection for Perry Ellis down the runway. Though the grunge aesthetic had its dissenters, critics and fashion editors for the most part adored the collection. It inspired the iconic "Grunge and Glory" Grace Coddington-styled Vogue editorial, WWD hailed Jacobs the "guru of grunge," and the CFDA crowned him Womenswear Designer of the Year a few months later.

The clothes were deemed mortally unsellable by Jacobs' bosses at Perry Ellis, however. The stunt got him fired and the collection was never produced.

Yesterday, Hedi Slimane sent a grunge-inspired collection for Saint Laurent down the runway. In an inverse of the reaction in 1993, critics are lukewarm at best, but most reviewers agree that the collection has quite a lot of commercial appeal.

"Many editors present did not appear to be in love with the concept, but there were many pieces that looked commercially lucrative," writes Eric Wilson of the New York Times.

Lisa Armstrong of the Telegraph agreed: "So we get it. Slimane is remaking Saint Laurent. It's young. It's sexy. It's très rock and roll. A gazillion girls who love Urban Outfitters' signature homage to Seattle Grunge will adore this luxed-up version." But despite the commercial merits of the collection, Armstrong goes on to point out that, "Neither [Slimane]—nor Saint Laurent—requires the styling tics of a 20-year-old teenage music revolution."

What a difference two decades makes, no?
· Saint Laurent Show Produces Conflict [NYT]
· Paris Fashion Week: Saint Laurent autumn/winter 2013 [Telegraph]
· Hedi Slimane Continues His '90s Sweep With Beck [Racked]