How Grunge Dressing Inspired Isabel Marant’s Latest Collection

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Isabel Marant Autumn/Winter 2022 Menswear
Isabel Marant Autumn/Winter 2022 MenswearCourtesy of Isabel Marant

The Parisian designer talks Kurt Cobain and 90s grunge, but insists that her heart will always belong to Serge Gainsbourg

“One fashion show after another is very repetitive in the end. It’s good to have a break every now and then when you’re stuck in the hamster wheel.” Isabel Marant is discussing her Autumn/Winter 2022 menswear collection over email, which she showed digitally via a short, no-frills video during Paris Fashion Week. 

Deriving inspiration from 90s grunge fashion from the likes of Kurt Cobain – “the cuts are baggy, check shirts are tied around the waist” – the collection features oversized, vibrant jacquard knit jumpers, snug suede boots and bucket hats (both knitted and canvas). The clothes are perfect for a man who wants to look cool, while still feeling cosy during the colder months of the year. 

Isabel Marant insists that she does not have a man in mind while designing, but if she had to pick one, it would be Serge Gainsbourg. For a stalwart of French fashion to select Gainsbourg as her muse is perhaps unsurprising – both attest to the power and beauty of simple, functional clothes, and both have that certain Parisian je ne sais quoi that leaves the rest of us envious.

Isabel Marant’s clothes are a success thanks to their interchangeability, both in terms of gender expression and in their ability to carry one seamlessly from daywear to night dressing. The Parisian kind of fashion she champions is smart but aloof, sharp yet unbothered. “L’Homme Marant is a bit like the Isabel Marant woman: a bit masculine, a bit feminine,” she says. It’s not hard to imagine women stealing some of these menswear pieces from friends or lovers – the boxy denim jacket, or perhaps a pair of the baggy, stonewash denim jeans – and pulling them off even better than their male counterpart. 

Speaking of androgyny, Marant’s controversial wedge sneakers have also made their way back into the new collection. She first released the heeled Beckett trainer over a decade ago – but after Beyoncé donned a pair in her Love On Top music video, they became a staple of casual 2010s dressing. Now, they’re being carried into 2022, perfect for city flânerie. “My man is an adventurer, an outdoor lover with an urban twist,” says Marant.