7 May 2020
If you are familiar with the world of the brand R13 and its designer Chris Leba, it will not have escaped your notice that music has a (great) influence on its collections. The ultimate reference? Kurt Cobain and his scruffy rock look. But if the spirit of the leader of Nirvana hovers over the jeans and other pieces of the New Yorker, it is without counting for his love of rock and the other groups that formed this current: Radiohead and The Velvet Underground to whom he dedicates several flagship pieces this season. Who are these emblematic groups that all of us seem to know? What music is rocking the R13 line this season? La Grande Boutique tells you everything.
In our exclusive interview with Chris Leba last December
, the American designer told us that, for him, “grunge is timeless because it does not specifically relate to a single item of clothing. It’s an attitude.”
Recurrently, rock and grunge music is a part of its universe. His inspirations? The biggest groups, those who marked a generation and others long after. Like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, Chris Leba is inspired by groups with a darker universe, which have imposed a real pattern. Starting with Radiohead, a British group that had its heyday in the 90s. If everyone feels that they know this group, it is because they are the author of cult songs.
If the group is so legendary, it is because it is composed of 5 unparalleled musicians who play together since high school, including the famous Thom Yorke, leader and singer of the group. They have released albums regularly since their first hit with the song “Creep” until the last one in 2016 (A Moon Shaped Pool), but it was “Ok Computer” released in 1997 that marked the rock scene. Combining melancholic, powerful and sensitive rock, he left the following hits in particular:
The other group very much highlighted in the R13 collections is The Velvet Underground. Unique and founding, the New York group of the 60s only existed for a few years in its original form. Numerous arguments within the members of the group, changes of musicians, singer, etc. will give multiple faces to what is called The Velvet Undergound.
But the original group, the one Chris Leba is referring to, is indeed the one produced by Andy Warhol’s Factory, led by the charismatic Lou Reed. The reason why The Velvet Underground made such an impression? As much by the very strong personalities of the people who crossed it but also and above all, for its psychedelic and very innovative music which inspired no less than the punk movement of the 70s and some of the rock bands that followed.
Their characteristic style based on dark silhouettes, black sunglasses, generally almost all dressed in black, is undoubtedly what also inspires the designer Chris Leba. Fashion is never far from music.
The founding album? The one who is nicknamed “the banana album, soberly called” Velvet Underground & Nico “after the singer who sings on three titles and who is also the muse of the group. Sulfurous and in a very pop-art vibe, the album displays on its first editions a legendary self-adhesive banana “Peel slowly and see”. We thus discovered a pink banana with obvious evocations…
What is crazy, is that the album knows a very limited success at its release, it is prohibited on the radio because the songs are considered too raw… it’s much later that he gained that cult album status that we remember today.
Beyond their emblematic silhouettes and their influence on the history of music, it is indeed songs from this new group that have remained in our collective memories.
After a few years, the group broke up because of the multiple conflicts that gnaw at it. Lou Reed, who was the author of most of the songs, has a solo career.
The subject of a large retrospective exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016, the group will eventually be elected, in particular for this album, the most influential group of all time, before the Beatles by Rolling Stone magazine.
The group The Velvet Underground, its legendary quickdraw and its emblematic album “banana” remains a major source of inspiration for R13, which is used in several ways in its collections.
Morality? If you want to be trendy and adopt the R13 look, choose a piece with the image of a rock band and wear it with jeans from the brand. As Chris Leba himself says, grunge is timeless…