It’s really hard for anyone who truly loves fashion not to look forward to the twice yearly fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Last Fashion Month brought unexpected surprises and breathtaking beauty across the board, but we usually look to the big fashion houses such as Chanel, Prada, Balmain, and Alexander McQueen to show us fantastic creativity…and the best lines we could ever wish to attain.
But then came Dries van Noten, a brand by a Belgian designer of the same name that laid fast asleep and under the radar during the 90s, only to see a massive resurgence in the 2000s. Though the brand has been on the upward path in the last several years, the impressiveness of the Paris showing of the Spring/Summer 2013 collection seemed as if it could have erased all past collections from memory. It was, by all accounts, an absolutely stellar and stunning collection.
A friend of mine once described me as “Soft grunge,” and then swiftly changed the subject. Not one to let someone make such a statement without telling what it means, she described it as “Grunge, but pretty.” Dries van Noten Spring/Summer 2013 was a lot of things, but soft grunge is a great way to describe it, should you need to narrow it down to two words. It was nothing like Charlotte Ronson’s 2011 lines, which people also described as modern grunge, though those were also amazing. True, models were largely clad in plaid, but the looks weren’t harsh, unkempt, or rock and roll. Dries van Noten managed to marry the rebellious 90s grunge look with a certain kind of beautiful romanticism, and unlike the fashion houses we usually count on to knock our socks off like Chanel, it was also completely wearable. The line was so influential, “Soft grunge” could just be the look of the next season, just as Louis Vuitton dictated the last one.
I get it though – as I preach soft grunge and hail Dries van Noten as the designer to keep on watching, we can’t all get a little Dries in our closet without upsetting our bank accounts. Fortunately, you don’t need to get Dries to do Dries, if that makes sense.
To get the look, you have to get the fact that at the core of the the Dries van Noten Spring/Summer 2013 was sheerchiffon, a trend we already noted, but made into a tailored but easy-flowing button-up in plaid. It was paired with pants, skirts, jackets, and sleeveless jackets, but regardless of what the piece was, Dries van Noten took care to make sure all lines were clean, all pieces were finally tailored. Some pieces featured floral appliques over the sheer fabric, but most were left plain. The heavy layers of the 90s were completely absent, though the long layers were retained. The mood and look were overall light.
The two dominant patterns in the line – plaid and florals – harkened back to 90s grunge quite deliberately, but in muted and more sophisticated color palettes of blushes, browns, blues, blacks, and a touch of lavender.
Mixing the patterns was a given, but between the subtle color hues and the airy sheer fabric, a happy medium of romance and rebellion was achieved.
Sunglasses were reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s own famed favorite frames. Shoes were pointed and either plaid, plaid or checked.
Sound intimidating and hard to find? Plaid and florals are staples in stores – these patterns simply never go away. The trick is just to find them in the right color palettes, cuts, and materials. And that core shirt? Right here is a good place to start.
So what do you think? Would you rock soft grunge? Sound off in the comments below!