Why fashion's top influencers have fallen back on '90s-style, grungy florals

Why fashion's top influencers have fallen back on '90s-style, grungy florals

In bloom

Text: Ryan Sng

Image: Instagram

Floral dresses have long connoted soft and approachable femininity; so much so, in fact, that they remain the ultimate meet-the-parents/Sunday-best cliché. In the '90s, however, they received a memorable makeunder, worn with ripped stockings, chunky-soled shoes and utilitarian outerwear. The juxtaposition of gritty urban staples against this most conspicuous signifiers of girliness signalled the conflict inherent in society's demands — that women be gentle, yet resilient enough to survive an often hostile world. This visual was compelling enough for Kurt Cobain to raid Courtney Love's wardrobe on a number of occasions, even posing for the cover of The Face in one of her flowery numbers.

We may have reached peak '90s revival some time ago, but fashion's top dogs are still milking the style for all it's worth. And who can blame them, when grungy florals retain much of their subversive power in this age of super-shiny, overstyled Kardashian-Jenners (no shade intended)? Below, our favourite contemporary proponents of the look. Click on links to shop.



The French influencer's fashion label, Rouje, is pushing painterly, sun-bleached florals that clearly owe a debt to grunge's lived-in aesthetic.



Between shots for Vogue, the model shrugged her roomy, weathered-looking jacket over a bombshell-worthy Paco Rabanne dress. Lesson learned: the more extreme the dissonance between items, the better.



Thriftstore-via-glam-socialite's-donated-closet is the (flattering) description we've invented for Nicolette Mason's full-floral, '70s-inflected Kate Spade lewk.



The Man Repeller founder's cosy, domestic-looking LoveShackFancy cardigan is seductively satirical; why, it's practically Stepford Wives drag.



Bubble's — not her real last name, obvi — chintzy Simone Rocha dress ticks all the right boxes. If boots or beat-up trainers strike you as too literal, steal a page from her book and pair your frock with some mismatched evening shoes instead.