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Nirvana versus Marc Jacobs

The grunge band has filed a lawsuit against the American designer

Nirvana versus Marc Jacobs The grunge band has filed a lawsuit against the American designer

What for one is a celebration of a golden age, for others it's theft. It happens often, this time to Marc Jacobs. The designer has in fact been sued by the members of Nirvana for violating the copyright following the use on a T-shirt of his recent Redux Grunge collection, of a logo a bit too similar to the one of the band: a face with a yellow outline on a black background, with a flickering smile and two Xs instead of the eyes. Although in Jacobs' version the Xs are replaced by his initials, MJ, and, instead of the name of the trio, there is the word Heaven, the similarity between the graphics is definitely undeniable. 

Especially if we consider that in the promotional communication the references to Nirvana are multiple, the one accompanying the offending boss reads for example:

This bootleg smiley tee sure smells like teen spirit

a marketing gimmick exploited according to Dave Ghrol and Krist Novoselic 

to make Grunge's association with the collection more authentic.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the two musicians have asked financial compensation, the withdrawal from sales of the objects with the logo and the elimination of any reference to the group in advertisements. For Jacobs, Redux Grunge was supposed to be a celebration of his golden age, the moment when his career took the decisive turn. Last November, in fact, the former creative director of Louis Vuitton reprinted, as a tribute to the twenty-fifth anniversary of his carrer, the famous SS93 collection that brought grunge on the catwalk, channeling the street culture and the "spirit" of the era in fashion. 

It's 1992, Marc is 29 years old and works for the US brand Perry Ellis, when for the spring season of 1993 he presents checked shirts, striped sweaters and maxi floral dresses, accessorized with berets, Doc Martens boots and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, a series of garments that would look good in a vintage shop, but that were actually the mirror of the style of the youth of the time. 

The reception of the collection wasn't positive, critics destroyed it and the company fired Jacobs. As recalls, Rebecca Searleman, who had the job of selling the Perry Ellis collection at Barneys in 1993, told Allure a couple years ago, shoppers at the time were wary of it, 

either because they were too distinguished to wear anything associated with grunge, or if they were hip clients, they were turned off by Marc Jacobs’s co-opting grunge. 

Even the reaction of the quintessential grunge couple, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, was predicatble, as the Hole leader recounted to WWD in 2010:

Marc sent me and Kurt his Perry Ellis grunge collection. Do you know what we did with it? We burned it. We were punkers, we didn’t like that kind of thing.

In the following years all the fashion experts ​​changed their mind about Jacobs' work, defined by critic Cathy Horyn

a look that was legitimately an expression of impertinent new values about alternative beauty, unaffected glamour, anti-luxury.