Photo by Steven Meisel, Clothing by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis, American Vogue "Independent's Day Editorial", 1993.
In 1993 Marc Jacobs sent Christie Turlington and Naomi Campbell down the Perry Ellis runway swathed in plaid, layers and sporting beanies. The looks were rough, grunge inspired, yet fresh. Marc Jacobs’ aesthetic was fully actualized in that showing, a collection that resulted in his firing from Perry Ellis and a major fashion moment that became a movement. Take a look at street style snaps outside fashion week or the youthful looks walking the runways season after season and you’ll see how the trademark ‘90s aesthetic has taken over modern fashion culture and this high fashion take on grunge by Marc Jacobs is partly responsible for the way women dress today.
Perry Ellis had just died when the label hired on young fashion partners Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy, the pair were eager to work under their own label but took the appointment to gain further notoriety, Jacobs was already a buzzed about fashion force but the two lacked the affluence required to go in to high fashion business. So in 1988, Jacobs took over as creative director for the unlikely brand, and played it safe the first couple of years. Around the ‘90s Jacobs really cultivated his trademark grunge aesthetic and while many people loved it, the label did not and both Jacobs and Duffy were axed.
Five years later, the designer was appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton and through that appointment launched his own line, where he further explored, polished and commercialized his trademark aesthetic. Jacobs managed to be of the moment and far ahead of his time through his pioneering take, informed by his keen observation of what was lacking in the high fashion market, Jacobs recognized that no one was making high fashion for young women, and in this realization he propelled his brand, and the direction of womenswear to an organically youthful place.
Backstage at the Perry Ellis Fashion Show, 1993. (L) Naomi Campbell. (R) Christy Turlington.