Seoul Searching! Gucci’s love letter to late 1990s
Is it just me or does it feel like we’ve been chiming the return of the ‘90s for what feels like a decade? Maybe you’re thoroughly over pop culture recycling itself? Wondering why editors are so intent on circling back to an era that, for many, can only be experienced through an Instagram post? Which is all to say sorry, but this summer it’s all happening. Again. Truly, madly, deeply. You can get your comeback kicks fill in the form of Britpop poster boys Blur at Wembley stadium; Pulp’s big reunion; Nick Cave’s forthcoming book release; The Strokes headlining All Points East Festival and so on it goes. Frankly, one could hardly argue the revival as unappealing. If the 2020s were a boyfriend, be sure you would have broken up with him a long time ago.
The 1990s, comparatively, sounded like a joyride. An endless gravy train of fun and frivolity. Hedonist nights out, blissfully free from the depressing glare of social media paparazzi (“up until 1998 I must have spent £1 million on drugs then I stopped because it is bad for your health, brain, life and for people around you,” according to Oasis’ Noel Gallagher). A time when home ownership under the age of 40 seemed entirely plausible. When celebrity profiles were not watered down with PR-friendly mouthpieces. Long before Gwyneth Paltrow discovered yoga.
Then, of course, there was the era’s ephemerally cool aesthetic. One we’re still pining for, though hard to categorise in any simple way, such is its chaotic DNA. A sartorial pendulum that could swing between Calvin Klein minimalism to Nirvana-esque grunge. Big boxy suits accessorised with even bigger hair to athletic tracksuits. Where do you even begin? If in doubt, take Gucci’s lead, the barometer for all things good taste. A brand whose headspace is clearly fixated on the latter half of the decade, as observed by their Cruise 2024 runway in South Korea this week staged inside the six-century-old Gyeongbokgung Palace - showcasing silhouettes evocative of the late 1990s but, according to show notes, “expressed in the colour palette of the 2010s.”
The back to the future collection looks as though The Matrix and Dazed and Confused costume departments had joined forces. With skater-chic, baggy and ripped jeans, oversized tees on one side; cyber-goth stomper boots, dark sunglasses, chokers, and long black coats on the other. Beauty details, too, added a weight of authenticity with a DIY sensibility (dirty pink, punkish hair, choppy micro-fringes and, the long-divisive, side parting).
Elsewhere, if you needed any further confirmation the ‘gorpcore’ trend is actually a thing rather than a passing TikTok fad – essentially sporting technically-minded outdoor apparel as casual everyday wear – this is as good as it gets: think neoprene water shoes, wader boots, skin-tight wetsuits, hoodies, surfboard carried ever so nonchalantly underarm. The ‘It’ accessory of the night? A skateboard-bag hybrid. It shouldn’t work and yet it absolutely does.
Say what you will about the 90s…boring it most certainly was not.