"It's not so shiny, happy people now, is it?" That was the question posed by Henry Holland after his strong and, for Holland, remarkably moody show this afternoon. According to the designer, the House of Holland girl had picked up an attitude problem—nothing meriting legal or medical intervention, mind you, but a bad case of the stroppiness that can only be soothed by listening to the Nirvana track "Lithium" approximately 8,000 times in a row. Yes, she's come down with Grunge Nostalgitis, as the condition will undoubtedly be listed in the next edition of the DSM.
Well, as we all know, grunge was awesome. And Holland's exceedingly liberal take on the look was pretty awesome too. Effectively, he made grunge go pop, blowing up the era's signature check and luxe-ifying its thrift-shop florals. Sure, a pair of badass acid yellow and black check shorts looked like the kind of thing a snub-nose skater girl would have worn in the early nineties, but the short, ruffled bustier top in the same material, not so much. Happily, Holland didn't waste his energy on historical accuracy.
Indeed, as a colleague pointed out after the show, this was a collection steeped more in memory than in fact. If Holland had really wanted to make a grunge collection, he wouldn't have progressed his show from sneering checks to ecstatic tie-dye. But he did, which suggests that his source material was personal—hazy, important memories of girls in mosh pits, and girls in muddy fields wearing shortalls and waving glow sticks. Maybe it was the same girl; who knows? It doesn't matter. What does matter is that Holland's deerskin leather and shibori tie-dyed shortalls didn't just look super-cute, they also did a pretty thorough job of expressing the blissed-out youthful bonkers-ness of a proper rave. Eventually, in other words, this collection got happy. But not shiny-happy: happy for real.