REIGNING QUEEN OF GRUNGE
ACTRESS WINONA RYDER AS THE FACE OF MARC JACOBS' J BAG
By Julia Demer
Layered leather, velvet mini dresses, and wine-colored lipstick— Winona Ryder is the quintessential ‘90s, cool girl.
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress established herself as a grunge icon throughout the decade. Beyond merely a fashion aesthetic, Ryder’s roles in films such as "Heathers" (1988), "Beetlejuice" (1988), and more recently, in season four of "Stranger Things", prove the actress’ longstanding adoration for the dark side.
While Ryder’s moto jackets became a cultural mainstay, Marc Jacobs changed fashion forever with his grunge-inspired Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis.
Grunge was the antithesis of the clean-cut, professional look that characterized both the Perry Ellis brand and fashion more generally at the time. Informed by an emerging subculture of alternative music, subversion, and teen angst, Jacobs was less interested in society’s elite and instead focused on what the youth was wearing. Reconstructing streetwear as high fashion, the designer was the first ever to put grunge on the runway. Jacobs paired his looks with Converse and Dr. Martens, juxtaposed luxury with flannel, and mixed dainty with severe. The designer has maintained a similar ethos with Heaven, a line that features imagery from iconic '90s films, such as "The Virgin Suicides" and "E.T."
Considering Ryder’s and Jacobs’ enduring commitment to grunge and all things the ‘90s, their recent collaboration for the new J Marc Shoulder Bag feels particularly harmonious. With the bag’s June 1st release date trailing only a few days behind that of "Stranger Things" season 4, its debut is mutualistic for both creatives.
First partnering with Jacobs in 2003, the actress is a familiar muse for the designer. Their two-decade-long friendship began after Ryder was found guilty of shoplifting a Marc Jacobs jumper, among other luxury items, from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. The star wore a knee-length sweater dress from Marc Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2001 collection to her sentencing, catching the attention of the designer himself. Struck by Ryder's beauty and genuine interest in his brand, Jacobs cast the actress in his Spring 2003 ad campaign. Photographs from the spread depict a wide-eyed Ryder staring directly into the camera, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the shoplifting scandal.
Ryder appeared in ads for Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2015 collection, and again as the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty in 2016. The designer, still captivated by Ryder today, features the actress wearing the J bag slung crossbody across her chest for his most recent campaign. A nod to their shared affinity for past eras, the accessory is styled throughout multiple looks with archival runway pieces.
Maintaining the essence of grunge, the J bag’s three-way wear is utilitarian— it can be worn with its chain shoulder strap, webbed crossbody strap, or without straps altogether as a clutch. Offering something for everyone, the smooth leather bag can be purchased in a variety of colors, ranging from vibrant candy tones to neutrals.
With her ample eyeliner and choppy fringe still grazing her face, some things never change. Winona Ryder’s youthful presence makes her the ideal face of this versatile accessory.