With every new season we tend to forget all about the past and concentrate solemnly on the future, anticipating what it holds in terms of fashion directions, trying to keep up with the rising trends, and getting deeply lost in the newness of it all. But as every decade is bound to experience a revival on the fashion scene, we are soon reminded that there’s no present, nor future, without a glorious past.

The spring 2013 fashion trends brought back a taste of 1960s mod and marked the comeback of 1980s power dressing, but at the same time introduced a glimpse at the slouchy 1990s with designers like Dries Van Noten, 3.1 Philip Lim and House of Holland building up a reimagined neo-grunge uptown look.

Click the thumbnails for full pictures
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13
In a new nirvana: S/S '13

Cultural influences

The year was 1991, the band was Nirvana and their newly released album was entitled Nevermind. The significant event that changed the face of both the fashion and the music industry at once, defined what later became known as the grunge style, influencing the rise of of an aesthetic that – as soon as it translated onto the fashion scene – morphed into a badge for Seattle’s alternative music backdrop.

The new era ended-up representing the 90s decade and influencing the ones that followed by introducing outfits that were characterized by comfort, insouciance and heavy layering. While some saw the movement like a dismissal of the severely tailored suits of the 80s, others perceived it as a pure eclectic statement. With style icons like Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and Kate Moss the style gained millions of followers.

The neo-grunge gained popularity somewhere around the year of 2003, paying tribute to the grunge aesthetic that innovated the 1990s fashion industry. Its reappearance correlated with the flourish of the neo-grunge music genre. For 2013, the trend became luxurious, slightly polished, almost grown up.


Kate Moss goes neo-grunge for Topshop Fall/Winter 2009

The look: neo-grunge fashion revisited

By drawing inspiration from the 1990s, the neo-grunge trend for 2013 hardly remained the same Seattle band inspirited movement, switching over to a fresh reinterpretation over the slouchy look. This season, a modern use of plaid is key in sporting the trend in a relevant and cutting-edge manner, but there are other elements/pieces that also work in making up the trend:

  • Loose jackets
  • Flower-patterned dresses/skirts
  • Slouchy pants
  • Oversized and cropped sweaters/tank tops
  • Large printed, sheer checks
  • Pattern mixing
  • Chiffon and silk rather than flannel
  • Graphic T-shirts
  • Natural colors and light layering


Neo-grunge on the runway at Dries Van Noten S/S ’13

Grunge clothing: cues from the runway

Although defined by nearly the same elements, the grunge clothing is now envisioned to encapsulate the sophisticated, uptown aesthetic, being less about flannel and ripped jeans, and more about light fabrics like chiffon and organza, perfect for spring and summer time.

Dries Van Noten’s collection saluted the presence of plaids in a way that didn’t feel saturated, putting an emphasis on pyjama-like styling and carefree silhouettes. The prints were being mixed with ease, the layers kept light in a way that translated to rebellious, but highly feminine at the same time. His significant vision allowed for the trend to be carried over to the fall 2013 runways.


Neo-grunge looks on the runway at Dries Van Noten S/S ’13

3.1 Phillip Lim’s collection felt equally nostalgic and modern, coming across as an update on the neo-grunge trend with subtle retro influences. Maybe one of the most significant looks to have walked down the runway, the floral, silk motorcycle jacket, worn on top of a loose black graphic T-shirt, paired to a printed skirt and accented by a shirt tied around its waist defines what the trend is all about this season.


Neo-grunge look on the runway at 3.1 Philip Lim S/S ’13

House of Holland’s rendition of the trend was focused more on the oversized shadow checks, steering away from the 90s minimalism. Also noted, the use of tie-dye and small-scale florals nodded towards the 90s classics as seen from a slightly distinct and unconventional perspective.


Neo-grunge looks on the runway at House of Holland S/S ’13

Neo-grunge: a newly gained romantic attitude

Although constantly associated with a messy, rebellious and slouchy aesthetic, this season the neo-grunge reached for a manifestation of femininity as some of the ethereal looks that came down the runway hinted towards a new interpretation of the loose sillouethe. The diaphanous skirt at Acne served to highlight the newly gained attitude, as paired with a graphic tank top and grungy sandals.


Neo-grunge looks on the runway at Acne S/S ’13

The beauty look

Accompanying an updated vision of the neo-grunge trend, the beauty look this season is also being enhanced. The messy hair-styles put a strong emphasis on the regrown roots, a 1990s staple, alongside the several days slept-in texture that “it’s almost greasy but it still looks good”. The bold lips and the mandatory round sunglasses complement the elevated beauty image.


Neo-grunge beauty look on the runway at Dries Van Noten S/S ’13

Grungy beauty tutorials to try at home

how to: classic meets grunge makeup

How to: classic meets grunge makeup

Opposites attract in this beauty look which pairs classic red lips with grungy dark eyes. Smudged eye pencil never quite looked so beautiful. Follow the link for the full classic lips grungy eyes tutorial.

how to: kenzo's

How to: Kenzo's "futuristic Maharaja" make up

Imagine a modern day Maharaja gone grunge. She might look a little like the girl Kenzo sent down the runway for fall; bold, beautiful, eyes lined in a smudge of dark winged liner on the bottom lids. If you want to give it a shot, try this modern Maharaja makeup tutorial.

Share some style:

Want to keep up with fashion?

Once a week, we send out an update with the latest fashion trends, styles and collections.
Get yours direct in your inbox and keep ahead of fashion.

Our newsletter is spam free and your email address will never be shared or sold.
Share