Vena Cava: Grunge Chérie

Vena Cava designers, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock, traveled back in time – twice – to find the inspiration behind their collection.

Taking a page from 1992 and taking a page from 1961, Vena Cava has presented the perfect blend of laid-back 90’s chic and moody beatnik style with a modern edge.

Vena Cava

A few punches to the eye socket and the models took the runway as Screaming Trees filled my head. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what songs were actually playing, I just know that Charlotte Ronson – the reigning queen of Bring Back the Nineties – was probably squirming in her seat, eagerly awaiting the next look.

Tiny daisy prints, polka dots, and full skirt mini-dresses mixed in with burnt orange and black (leather, cotton, silk) to create a very sophisticated yet relaxed idea.

This contraption was probably my favorite look of the show. Why? Because it’s perfect, don’t argue. The almost dowdy skirt’s buckles’n’buttons are interesting enough to make up for its lack of shape. Plus, who doesn’t love a high-waist? Nearly every solo skirt in this collection was rocked on the natural, or high waist. Several were paired with loose crops – we’re traveling back at the speed of light, here – but occasionally, a jersey or silk fitted, off-shoulder top took their place. The necklines left about as much to the imagination as a bustier or demi-cup bra, but the wide décolletage is welcomed. Very, very, very. (Boobs.)

The pre-millenial decade is wrought with images of dirty grunge fashion kids – as one who proudly took part in the Seattle-born trend, I am a bit flummoxed with my love for its return. That being said, it wasn’t all muddy and plaid – there was a femininity within the ’90s that was uniquely sophisticated. Nipped waists and full skirts enhanced the shape of the lady-forms, and Vena Cava clearly wanted to make a point: The 90’s weren’t just for the boys.

Crepe de chine – it makes for a perfect modern touch to an otherwise heavy-fabric era. Unsurprisingly, the collection’s looks were paired with flats, or (naturally) boots. The occasional open toe platform made an appearance, as well.

Vena Cava idealized the 1990s perfectly – all the way down to the ankle straps on the pitch black shoes, and the burned-out, oxidized color palette.

What are your thoughts on the Vena Cava collection? What would you wear?

See the rest of Vena Cava’s Fall/Winter 2011 collection on

Probably watching Netflix.

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