Grunge Again

Lady Gaga photographed by Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin (Lobster Eye) in Marc Jacobs' grunge reissue, Elle, November 2018. Stylist: Nicola Formichetti.
Lady Gaga in Marc Jacobs’ grunge reissue, Elle, November 2018. Photo: Ruth Hogben and Andrea Gelardin. Editor: Nicola Formichetti. Image: Marc Jacobs via Twitter.

Grunge is back. Marc Jacobs has reissued looks from his Spring 1993 “grunge” collection for Perry Ellis as Redux Grunge.

Grunge Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs - Gladys Perint Palmer illustration in L'Officiel, February 1993
Illustration by Gladys Perint Palmer in L’Officiel, February 1993. Image: editionsjalou.com.

Juergen Teller’s ad campaign shows Jacobs’ iconic grunge pieces, resurrected from vintage and available exclusively from the designer’s website.

Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge advertising campaign by Juergen Teller
Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge campaign by Juergen Teller. Image: Marc Jacobs.

I wrote about Vogue’s two grunge Perry Ellis patterns back in 2013, as part of my series on early Marc Jacobs.

Grunge - Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis - two vintage '90s sewing patterns + runway photos

Now that Vogue has posted the entire collection online, we can ID the other dress. The button-front slip dress was originally worn layered, Seattle-style.

look 4 Nadja Auermann in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 by Marc Jacobs
Nadja Auermann in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Image: Vogue Runway.
Naomi Campbell in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 by Marc Jacobs look 5
Naomi Campbell in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Image: Vogue Runway.

None of the three pattern looks is part of the reissue, but the short version of the maxi dress—worn by Carla Bruni in 1992—can be seen on Lili Sumner in Teller’s campaign. (There’s also a new, flower chain print version of the ’90s floral dress.) As the web store notes, the dress was inspired by 1930s nightgowns. Just shorten V1304 to sew the look.

Carla Bruni in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Image: Vogue Runway.
Lili Sumner in Marc Jacob's Redux Grunge collection
Lili Sumner in Marc Jacob’s Redux Grunge collection. Photo: Juergen Teller. Image: Marc Jacobs via Twitter.

Carolyn Murphy

Murphy in Armani, Vogue Italia, September 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel
Carolyn Murphy in Armani, Vogue Italia, September 1998. Photo: Steven Meisel. Image: Pleasure Photo.

Supermodel Carolyn Murphy can be seen on some ’90s Vogue patterns.

Born in Florida, Carolyn Murphy (b. 1973) studied art history and literature at the University of Virginia before her modelling career took off in the mid-1990s. For more, see her IMG Models page.

Carolyn Murphy photographed by Mario Testino in Spring 1998 Givenchy Couture by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris March 1998 cover
Carolyn Murphy in Givenchy Couture by Alexander McQueen, Vogue Paris, March 1998. Photo: Mario Testino. Image: Vogue Paris.

Before she cut her hair, Murphy did some work for Vogue Patterns. Chuck Baker photographed her for the summer 1994 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.

Vogue 1443
Vogue 1443 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994. Photo: Chuck Baker.

1990s Vogue Sport pattern featuring Carolyn Murphy - jacket, dress, top, shorts & pants V1443
Vogue 1443 (1994) Image: Etsy.

Here’s the original caption: Work-out wear goes high fashion as athletic-inspired clothes come out of the gym and onto the streets. Vogue Sport presents a one-pattern wardrobe of high-function pieces that look great whatever your game. Reflective stripes stylishly accent as well as provide high visibility protection. 1443 includes a black nylon jacket with inside drawstring, pull on sweatpants, boxy fleece shorts, and a V-neck sweatshirt that elongates into a sweatdress for lounging or going out.

As well as the Vogue Sport pattern, Murphy also models 5 Easy Pieces separates “in chocolate and emerald”:

Vogue 1471 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994
Vogue 1471 in Vogue Patterns, July/August 1994. Photo: Chuck Baker.

1990s 5 Easy Pieces pattern feat. Carolyn Murphy - Vogue 1471
Vogue 1471 (1994) Image: Etsy.

Bonus: Murphy was also featured in this Marc Jacobs pattern hack, shot by Herb Ritts for Vogue. The Marc Jacobs slip dress (Vogue 1965) was shown in icy green velvet from Elegant Fabrics, NYC.

“The softness of pale-green velvet takes on an unexpected sexiness when it’s slit thigh-high. Dress with spaghetti straps, Vogue Pattern #1965. Fabric from Elegant Fabrics, NYC.” Herb Ritts/Brana Wolf
Carolyn Murphy in Vogue 1965 by Marc Jacobs. Vogue, October, 1997. Photo: Herb Ritts. Editor: Brana Wolf.

VogueOct1997_V1965
Vogue 1965 by Marc Jacobs – Vogue, October 1997.

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis: Vogue Patterns, Part 2

Marc Jacobs grunge dresses for Perry Ellis - Garden Party, Bazaar February 1993 Patrick Demarchelier

Marc Jacobs’ Spring/Summer 1993 ‘grunge’ collection for Perry Ellis was a succès de scandale, a landmark collection that got him fired and continues to provoke debate. (See my earlier Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis post here.) Shown in November 1992, the collection was inspired by the music of Seattle bands like Nirvana and the layered, mismatched, thrift-store vintage look associated with the grunge scene in the Pacific Northwest.

Kurt Cobain performs in a vintage floral print, Amherst, 1990
Kurt Cobain performs in a vintage floral print, Amherst, 1990. Image: Malibu PR Gal.

At the time, Jacobs described his interpretation of grunge as “a hippied romantic version of punk.” The collection referenced grunge style with mixed floral and tartan prints and thermal layers, but translated them for the runway through play with luxurious materials: the flannels and thermals were sand-washed Italian silk and cashmere, worn with Doc Martens and specially-made duchesse satin Converse and Birkenstocks.

Christie Turlington Perry Ellis spring 1993 Ready-To-Wear collection, designed by Marc Jacobs.
Christy Turlington in Perry Ellis Spring 1993 collection, designed by Marc Jacobs. Image: Vogue Runway.

Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss model Marc Jacobs' spring 1993 grunge collection for Perry Ellis
Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss model Marc Jacobs’ Spring 1993 grunge collection for Perry Ellis. Image: Vogue Runway.

Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss model Marc Jacobs' spring 1993 grunge collection for Perry Ellis
Perry Ellis SS 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Models: Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss. Image: Couture Culture.

Update: Vogue Runway has posted this collection in its entirety here.

In December 1992, Vogue magazine published “Grunge & Glory,” a Steven Meisel editorial styled by Grace Coddington and accompanied by an essay by Jonathan Poneman, cofounder of Sub Pop (the label that released Nirvana’s first album). The shoot included pieces by Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, and several from Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis:

Grunge & Glory Steven Meisel editorial featuring Kristen McMenamy in Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs, styled by Grace Coddington
“Grunge & Glory.” Vogue, December 1992. On right: Kristen McMenamy in Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs. Photo: Steven Meisel. Fashion editor: Grace Coddington. Image: Rag Pony.

And in case you thought the flow of influence between fashion and alternative culture was unidirectional, Sonic Youth’s video for “Sugar Kane” (dir. Nick Egan) was shot in the Perry Ellis showroom during the making of the grunge collection:

In early 1994, Vogue Patterns released two patterns for designs from Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis. Vogue 1335 is a pattern for bell bottoms and a jacket and cropped vest with butterfly appliqués:

Grunge jacket, vest and pants pattern by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis - Vogue 1335
Vogue 1335 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1994) Jacket, vest, and pants.

Vogue 1335 schematic
Technical drawing for Vogue 1335

Here’s the envelope description: Misses’ jacket, vest & pants. Semi-fitted, lined, below hip jacket has notched collar, shoulder pads, flaps, upper and lower welt pockets, side back seams and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent and button trim. Semi-fitted, lined, above waist vest has side panels, no side seams and welts. Both have purchased appliques. Bell-bottom pants have contour waistband and back zipper.

The ensemble was worn on the runway by Nadja Auermann:

Perry Ellis SS 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Model: Nadja Auermann. Image: Vogue Runway.

The Vogue 1335 ensemble was also photographed for this 1993 press photo:

Marc Jacobs for PerryEllis photographed by GeorgeWaldman, 1993
Jacket, vest, and pants by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis; DKNY high-tops. Detroit Free Press, March 1993. Photo: George Waldman.

The second pattern, Vogue 1304, is for a pair of long, lightweight dresses—a princess-seamed slip dress and an ankle-length, retro style with flounces and flutter sleeves:

1990s grunge Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis dress pattern - Vogue 1304
Vogue 1304 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1994) Image: PatternVault shop.

Marc Jacobs grunge for Perry Ellis dress Vogue 1304 schematic
Technical drawing for Vogue 1304

The envelope description reads: Misses’ dress. Loose fitting, flared, pullover dress A, ankle length has front button trim, side front and back seams, sleeve and hem flounces and above elbow sleeves. Fitted and flared dress B, above ankle, has shoulder straps, princess seams, side pockets and front button/loop closing. (Recommended fabrics include chiffon, georgette, and crepe de chine.)

Helena Christensen modelled the floral print on the runway:

Perry Ellis SS 1993 by Marc Jacobs. Model: Helena Christensen. Image: Vogue Runway.

The Vogue 1304 floral print dress was photographed with another dress in the same print by Patrick Demarchelier for Harper’s Bazaar. The models are Shalom Harlow and Susan Holmes:

Perry Ellis dresses by Marc Jacobs, Feb. 1993 - Garden Party photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Bazaar 1993
“Garden Party.” Harper’s Bazaar, February 1993. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Image: noirfacade.

(Click the image for the full editorial. For Vogue Patterns magazine, the Vogue 1304 Perry Ellis grunge dresses were photographed with the similarly on-trend Vogue 1293 by Donna Karan.)

Shalom Harlow was also photographed by Bruce Weber in a similar, vintage-style Perry Ellis dress, in a cherry-and-butterfly print chiffon—this time with Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vogue called the dress “this season’s signature”:

Shalom Harlow wears Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs, photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, 1993
“Traveling Light.” Vogue, April 1993. Photo: Bruce Weber. Image: Herringbone and Houndstooth.

The same black floral print was also used for a silk bikini top and shorts, as seen in a Vogue summer editorial photographed by Ellen von Unwerth:

Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs silk bikini and shorts photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, Vogue, 1993
“Beauty and the Beach,” Vogue, July 1993. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth. Fashion editor: Grace Coddington. Image: Herringbone and Houndstooth.

Years later, Jacobs spoke of being inspired by the energy of grunge after hearing Nirvana on the radio in Berlin, saying:

“I liked the idea of making some visual noise through clothing. I found a two-dollar flannel shirt on St. Mark’s Place and I sent it off to Italy and had it made into a $300-a-yard plaid silk. It was like the Elsa Perretti crystal tumbler at Tiffany that was inspired by a paper Dixie Cup. I love to take things that are everyday and comforting and make them into the most luxurious things in the world.”

(Source: Mary Clarke’s interview for Index magazine.)

It’s this effect of visual noise, of dissonance, achieved by Jacob’s high fashion take on street style that makes the Perry Ellis grunge collection so influential. There’s also something very ’90s-postmodern about reverse-faux—luxury materials mimicking their more affordable counterparts. Yet, according to Voguepedia, the grunge collection was never produced, making Vogue’s Perry Ellis patterns all the more interesting to lovers of ’90s fashion.

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis: Vogue Patterns, Part 1

Michaela Bercu wears Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs, Vogue, November 1989
Michaela Bercu wears Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs, Vogue, November 1989. Image: Fashion Model Directory.

Can you believe the early-nineties revival in fashion right now? We remember Marc Jacobs’ ‘grunge’ collection for Perry Ellis as a turning point in ’90s fashion. It’s easy to forget that Jacobs had been designing for Perry Ellis since the late 1980s. It was Perry Ellis who persuaded Jacobs to enrol at Parsons and, before his death, Ellis had said he wanted Jacobs and his business partner, Robert Duffy, to join his company. Jacobs and Duffy were hired in 1988, and Jacobs presented his first collection for Perry Ellis, for Fall 1989, at the Puck Building in Soho.

Vogue Patterns’ licensing agreement with Perry Ellis lasted into the 1990s: the company’s Perry Ellis patterns from the 1990s represent some of Marc Jacobs’ earlier work. Here’s a selection of Perry Ellis patterns by Marc Jacobs from the early ’90s.

A dress from Marc Jacobs’ 1989 Resort collection for Perry Ellis made the cover of Vogue magazine (see above). Vogue 2475 has the same yellow and white stripes (is that Carla Bruni?):

1990s Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis pattern - Vogue 2475
Vogue 2475 Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1990) Image: eBay.

The March/April 1990 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine included an interview introducing Marc Jacobs, accompanied by an editorial shoot showing two Perry Ellis patterns, Vogue 2474 and 2475:

Marc Jacobs in Vogue Patterns magazine, March/April 1990
Marc Jacobs in Vogue Patterns magazine, March/April 1990. Image: eBay.

Vogue 2475 and 2474 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, Vogue Patterns magazine, March/April 1990
Pure Perry Ellis. Vogue 2475 and 2474 in Vogue Patterns magazine, March/April 1990. Image: eBay.

Update: the young Marc Jacobs could also be seen in the counter catalogue:

"American Originals" - Marc Jacobs with model in Vogue patterns 2474 and 2475, ca 1990
Marc Jacobs with model in Vogue 2474 and 2475, Vogue Patterns catalogue, June 1990. Image: Karsten Moran for the New York Times.

These two patterns from 1991 also have a ‘resort’ feel:

1990s Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis pattern - Vogue 2665
Vogue 2665 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1991) Image: patronescostura on Etsy.

1990s Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis pattern - Vogue 2666
Vogue 2666 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1991) Image: patronescostura on Etsy.

Vogue 2475’s yellow stripes were also seen in the Spring 1991 collection, and stripes made a reappearance the following spring. Here are collection images for Marc Jacobs’ Spring 1991 and 1992 collections for Perry Ellis (presented in 1990 and 1991):

Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, SS 1991 - L'Officiel 1000 modèles no. 4, 2012
Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, Spring/Summer 1991. Image: jalougallery.com.

L'Officiel 1000 modèles no. 4, 2012 Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs SS 1992
Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, Spring/Summer 1992. Image via jalougallery.com.

This pattern for daywear separates with colour blocking looks more like a Fall/Winter design (the companion pattern was Vogue 2759):

1990s Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis pattern - Vogue 2760
Vogue 2760 by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis (1991) Image: Amazon.

Here’s the collection image for Marc Jacobs’ Fall 1990 collection for Perry Ellis:

LOfficiel 1000modeles no4 2012 Ellis Jacobs FW 1990
Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, Fall/Winter 1990. Image: jalougallery.com.

(A free knitting pattern is available for the New York skyline sweater at VogueKnitting.com.)

In retrospect, the headline for Vogue Patterns’ 1990 interview—“Marc Jacobs: Doing it his way”—is ironic considering the circumstances of the designer’s firing after his Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis. You can see more early Marc Jacobs designs for Perry Ellis in L’Officiel 1000 modèles’ 2012 hors-série issue devoted to Marc Jacobs.

Next: Marc Jacobs’ ‘grunge’ collection for Perry Ellis.