Raf Simons’ NYFW Fall Grunge Delivers Mass Injection of 90’s Heroin Chic

Listen, it’s no secret that we’ve witnessed a massive 90’s resurgence over the past few years. The offspring of ‘Generation X’ are reviving the trends of their parents era in which music, literature, and films took the most aggressive of turns, and particularly in the fashion industry with the appearance of world-changing artist and designers. Grunge music was the soundtrack of a whole decade, and heroin chic was the cult look in the fashion and media industry; the 90’s also saw the rise of Hip Hop pop(ularity), and teen depression-based books gave birth to masterpieces both in literature and film.

Raf Simons Runway In the New York Fashion week. Photo credit: The New york Times
Raf Simons Runway In the New York Fashion week.
Photo credit: The New York Times

Anti-fashion and grunge are back in town! As Raf Simons proved at the start of February, blowing our previous conceptions of cult clothing out of the water with his latest runway in New York Fashion Week. His show portrayed all the elements of Heroin chic, and was deeply inspired by Christiane F (1981) a movie which deeply impacted the German and European youth of its time. The movie portrayed a glamorised vision of the youth mantra ‘Carpe Diem‘, in a world surrounded by drugs and the music of David Bowie.

Raf Simons’ collection was presented in a “rocambolesque” environment, dripping in excess in almost every sense. The backdrop was littered with wine bottles, overflowing fruits, and floral arrangements. The inherent theme of opulence was visible in the collection, as plaid coats and satin cargo pants dominated the line. Multiple garments were adorned with various drug references; ‘LSD’, ‘XTC’ and ‘GHB’ were seen imprinted on kneepads and patched on scarves.

Gen X-ers and early millennials could draw comparison between this scenery and 1995 genre classic The Basketball Diaries which portrayed the life of author Jim Carroll during his drug-filled teenage years. Younger millennials could indeed find familiarity in Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower – a novel fluent in teenage depression and social interaction during the nineties era. The book later became a generational hit when its 2012 filmic adaptation hit the screen, resurfacing Gen X’s 1977 anthem David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ as the cult track. It’s clear why Raf Simons’ approach to the ‘familiar’ and grunge style of his audience’s heyday had such an impact.

Like any trend in a digital age, 90’s style has also become on-trend in social media. More and more artist’s are paying homage to a style that was widely criticised by the media due to its drug references, but thankfully enforced and endorsed by brands like Calvin Klein. A handful of new Instagram-ers on the block have certainly perpetuated the resurgence, and whilst yet to reach their full potential have made rich contributions to the photographic style of the era. We recommend you check out small influencers such as Julia Hovve, Desirée de Stefano and Daniela Santa María.

From our perspective, the 90’s music and arts tried to portray the excitement of the new era, but that came hand in hand with the depression of a society that strived for freedom in a world that was yet to be unveiled. All being marked and accompanied by classic bands, like the obvious – such as Nirvana, R.E.M or Pearl Jam. Their music encompassed the vision of Generation X, a generation with little respect for authority in their strive for personal experience. This style of music has made some type of comeback of late; with new artists like Car Seat Headrest and Tash Sultana, or the 90’s classic Beck making an appearance at the ‘Sydney City Limits Festival’ this weekend past.

The 90’s are back and all of the arts are embracing it. Maybe it’s time you clean out your wardrobe and rediscover some old classics to embrace in this ongoing trend. Let us know what element of the 90’s you enjoy the most!