Designer Anna Sui American

Not on view

Many grunge "rockers" adopted dresses as a statement against mainstream society. Grunge emerged out of the late 1980s Seattle music scene. It reflected a fusion of punk and hippie aesthetics, a synthesis that was culturally-specific to the Northwest coast of America. Its leading protagonists were young, white, middle-class males who enjoyed the muscular riffs of loud guitar rock but who had difficulty identifying with its macho and sometimes misogynist posturing. Grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic during the first half of the 1990s. The music of these bands "provided an identity and soundtrack for the 'lost' Generation X'ers…who could never hope to maintain, or even want, the same levels of economic and material achievement of their parents."

Despite the ingrained anticorporate stance associated with grunge, its spectacular cooptation by the mass market has been well documented. That the look of grunge could be achieved cheaply and with minimal effort did not prevent its adaptation for the catwalk and shopping mall alike. Inspired by Kurt Cobain, Anna Sui created several baby-doll dresses for her spring/summer 1994 collection. Like Cobain, Sui styled them with chunky work boots, thus parodying hard-edged definitions of gendered dress.

Ensemble, Anna Sui (American, born 1955), a) rayon, cotton, plastic
b) cotton, plastic, American

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