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.