A number of New York Fashion Week collections eyed the Nineties this week, as we suspected they would. But Jeremy Scott, the week’s arch parodist, is winking at the Nineties for Fall 2012. He spoke about how nothing ever really goes away, that all the contexts of our collective past are only a Tumblr item away from reincarnation. These are not new concepts for any critical theory enthusiast, or even just an especially active social media participant. Sentiments like these have even crept into the philosophy-lite strands of pop music: everyone from Drake to Grimes has commented on the way the Internet is affecting our notions of reality, self, creativity and, of course, our increasingly fluid memory. If we can’t Google it, chances are we aren’t retaining it. But fashion has been less willing to engage in, or challenge, its own reliance on technology, so Scott’s decision to go there holds some weight. His message? If life in 2012 is one giant meme, we may as well have fun with it.
Remember when the cool kids wore Bart Simpson merch to grade school in the Nineties? Jeremy Scott does; those are still his cool kids. The young Simpson’s immortal visage appeared on a number of the collection’s most memorable looks, shoehorned between kaleidoscopic Lisa Frank manifestations and salutes to Rainbow Brite. The net effect of the show was analogous to wandering through KB Toys circa 1995 on a strong mind-altering substance – or, better yet, attending the ultimate after-hours rave at such a location. That KB Toys no longer exists, and illicit theme parties can be thrown on their own memorial sites, is both bittersweet and likely very much relevant to Scott’s point. Even though we’re talking about Hasbro toys as applied to fashion here, the idea that what’s dead can dance rings ever more true.