“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”
The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts
Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design
Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz): April 28, 1968 – October 22, 2017 (All Photos By Gail)
I believe that it is possible to live an entire lifetime in one day. I met Scott Putesky (sometimes better known as Daisy Berkowitz, founding member and original guitarist for the band called Marilyn Manson) in 2015 at mutual friend Mark Kostabi’s semi-annual Jazz Art Brunch. Mark, an accomplished musician himself, knows a ton of other musicians, and people always get up and jam with the band. At one point Scott played keyboards and sang a couple of cover songs. After he finished his set, I introduced myself, since I had written extensively about his band back in the day and I knew we had a few other mutual friends. Scott turned out to be very down-to-earth guy, and a terrific conversationalist, so we drank and laughed, talked about art and exchanged cards for a possible future meet up.
Mark Kostabi with Scott and Me at Frieze 2015
I already new from hearing it in the media that Scott had been diagnosed stage 4 colon cancer, and in one of our first conversations he told me how he was undergoing chemotherapy sessions every other week to keep it in check. He wasn’t shy about discussing his treatment because he wanted people to understand that he was fighting as hard as he could, and that he was also determined to live his life to the fullest. At this point, his prognosis did not include the probability of a cure and recovery. He was just trying to buy as much time as possible.
Scott did not want to pose with this relief sculpture of two sunflowers, but I made him do it. He loved the resulting photo so much he used it as his FaceBook Profile Photo for nearly a year.
Scott was not only a musician, he was also a fine artist who had a voracious curiosity about art history. The annual Frieze Art Fair (which takes place on New York’s Randall’s Island) was coming up and Scott had never been, so we made plans to attend together. I thought it was hilarious when he asked me what he should wear. “You’re a Rock Star,” I reminded him. “You don’t need me to tell you how to dress.” Scott showed up to the dock wearing a bespoke kilt made from Clan Scott Tartan along with the complete traditional accessories. It should not surprise anyone that once we arrived at Frieze, everyone asked “the guy wearing the kilt” to pose for photos. I took a few myself and will now share them with you, because I think they show a fun-loving side of Scott, and he would appreciate being remembered in this way.
One of the works that Scott most wanted to see at Frieze is this Red Plank by minimalist pioneer John McCracken.
Scott With John McCracken Sculpture Vibes
Scott Considers a Sculpture Called the Mood Machine
No Art Fair Experience is Complete Without at Least One Commemorative Mirror Selfie
Photo By Mark Kostabi
Sadly, I have neither any knowledge of the title of this work, nor the artist’s name.
This work is entitled It’s the Buzz, Cock by artist Linder Sterling. The image was famously used as the sleeve artwork for the Buzzcocks‘ 1977 45 RPM single release, Orgasm Addict.
This piece is by an artist whose work I know, and whose name I should remember, but I just can’t recall it right now. Scott’s expression is hilarious to me.
Scott and I wore ourselves out at Frieze and took the ferry back into Manhattan around 5:00 pm to attend another hyped-up-the-ass exhibit opening, which turned out to be a bust. Not to be deterred from continuing our Art Safari into the night, we moved on to another exhibit just up the block, and then took the party to a place that was once the home of Manhattan’s longest bar for snacks and drinks, and more conversation. Later, we walked in a light rain from Houston to Union Square, stopping in at the occasional curiosity shop like this place (where Scott purchased a large bag of assorted Gummy Candies) before I finally dropped him off at the subway on 14th Street and then continued on to my home.
We had an entire lifetime in one day.
Even above all of the times I saw him onstage with Marilyn Manson, my favorite memories of Scott are of the day we spent at Frieze and then prowling downtown Manhattan like two friends who just loved art and NYC. Now, you have those memories as well. RIP Scott. You are very much missed.
Pioneering designer Vivienne Westwood’s seminal 1993/94 Anglomania collection enshrined the kilt in high fashion. It was worn on the runway by Kate Moss, who sported the look shown here, and by Naomi Campbell, who famously fell while wearing the Super Elevation Gillie platforms. The kilt evolved from a single long piece of durable, harsh twill in muted colors that Scottish Highland men wrapped around the lower body, belted, and the passed over one shoulder.
Safety Pin Mouthpiece – Punk Rock!
Beginning in the late seventeenth century, pleats were sown into the back the skirt, loops were added for ease of belting, and the top length formed an autonomous garment. For Highland clans , the kilt symbolized familial, military and geographic loyalties. Following a series of incursions known as the Jacobite Uprisings, the garment was banned by English law in 1746, and its use declined precipitously. The kilt was revived by nineteenth-century elites, who invented new traditions around its use.
Kilt Sporran Detail
Worn by the military until the mid-twentieth century, the kilt became a nostalgic symbol for Scottish nationals in diaspora, and it is a common element of girls’ private school uniforms and ceremonial wedding attire. Punks subversively paired it with hoodies and graphic T-shirts
Photographed at part of the Exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern? on Through January 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.