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© Helicon Magazine 2019

University of Bristol

 

return of the trash 

Rupen Kalsi 

Moschino’s 17/18a millennial swansong to recycling. 

Rising from the ashes of the 60s revival, fashion’s new baby emerges clothed in black PVC with a trashcan fascinator on its head...no, it literally does. 

Moschino’s latest show was inspired by rubbish, complete with the Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner dressed in cardboard-esque ensembles and loo roll cross-body bags. Edgy. Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, said his latest collection was inspired by a woman who had lost everything and had to make her clothes entirely out of things she could find. Often called the Andy Warhol of couture, Scott is heavily inspired by pop culture and consumerism and maybe, in this case, our society’s love of waste.

 

But trash and grunge (its dirtier younger cousin) do seem to be having a moment this season, with enough Nirvana t-shirts to send Kurt Cobain spinning in his grave. We are left to wonder whether there’s anything grungy about rows of mass produced ‘distressed’ band t shirts on the Misguided website, when the essence of grunge in its first incarnation was about nonconformity – a far cry from the front row of the fash pack.

Coach and Balmain both debuted grunge-inspired looks this season, complete with gravel strewn across the Coach catwalk (for that extra oomph). Yet the question remains whether high fashion or mass-produced grunge can really be grunge at all? And does this trend makes a mockery of the anarchistic philosophy rockers like Cobain? In the same way that Che Guevara might have felt slighted to see his image printed on thousands of t-shirts and posters, how would Cobain or The Ramones feel to be the signifiers of millennial nu-age grunge? 

Arguably Scott’s collection was creative genius and, more in line with Cobain, this season brings more non-binary fashions with Chanel ambassador Pharrell being the first man to ever front a Chanel bag campaign. However, we must always be aware of context. These shows take on a deeper resonance fewer than ten years after the worst recession the West has ever seen and, in Brexit Britain and Trump’s post-truth America, we may question if these fashion designers should be doing more than producing incredibly expensive looks under the guise of trash. Fashion has never been grounded; it has always been aspirational and outrageous. But these seasons’ obsession with trash, grunge, and urban cool show that the fashion world is more out-of-touch than ever.

Images:

Top -  Harper's Bazaar

Bottom - Harpers Bazaar (left), The Cut AFP/Getty Images (right)