Sunday, July 8, 2007

We Miss You, Courtney

I was born just a few years too late to appreciate the grunge/indie rock/riot grrrl explosion of the late early 90's. While kids a few years older were crying over Kurt and sneaking off to Bikini Kill concerts and stapling their own zines (inspired, partially, by the late great Sassy magazine), I was listening to the Cats soundtrack and, I don't know, pouring over the pages of Seventeen. And there wasn't really a whole lot on the horizon- except for Courtney Love. She may have been a dimming star at that point, but her image was endlessly fascinating to me, if a little scary, and she still showed up in teen mags, (notably in this "On Tour With Hole" feature, in which she wore fairy wings and part of a "red majorette costume from Goodwill"- I thought this was amazing.) When the most subversive looking female to be found was the far more polished (and boring, and, now that I think about it, rather "cyber" influenced) Shirley Manson, Courtney's picture would still show up from time to time, snarling in a ripped vintage dress, in all her peroxided glory, looking fierce and inspirational and different.

The image above was in a Seventeen when I was in middle school, in a section about how to dress like Courtney Love. There's not that much I can say I still find cool that I did in middle school, but old photos of Hole will forever fall into that category. I mean, she is wearing black eyeliner, red lipstick and a torn 1940's dress- a look I am still ripping off to this day! Courtney's "kinderwhore" look was an amalgamation of old and new, trashy and sweet, punk and princessy, and it worked really, really well. You could be girly and tough and play guitar and say fuck you while wearing a peter pan collar and baby barrettes all at the same time. I still sort of want a fur coat like the one she wore in the liner notes of the perennial classic Live Through This (the cover of which, looking back on it, is also totally amazing.)

So, instead of thinking about the modern version of Courtney, let's think about her, many nose jobs ago, when she was outspoken and unique and an awesome role model/style icon, who really didn't look like anyone else, and, hopefully, inspired twelve-year-olds everywhere.


Vannesa said...

I read that same article from Seventeen and thought the same thing!! I remember the caption next to one of the pictures that said she uses broken pieces of mirror and glue to put in her hair. I remember the article being laid out nicely too, with polaroid pictures.

M said...

I made my mom buy me these rhinestones with velcro backs that were made to stick in your hair inspired by Courtney's look during this era (this was considerably less punk rock than broken mirrors and glue.) I also remember the part in the poloraid shoot where she said she looked like "psycho Barbie" - that pretty much seemed like the apex of cool at the time.

Anonymous said...

i love how the dude in hole looks like he should be saying "FIRE BAD!"


M said...

he's no melissa auf de murer! (i always thought she was like the parallel to darcy [or is it d'arcy...?] from the smashing pumpkins- they both have that ethereal/gothy/might wear a corset thing going on.)