Few would have believed in the early Nineties that Kurt Cobain would still be a relevant and influential style icon decades later. Such an impact was made not only with the songs created by the Nirvana front man, but also with his infamous grunge style. Items such as beaten up Converse, distressed denim and plaid shirts are reliable staple wardrobe pieces that are featured on the bodies of some of our most stylish individuals to this day, refreshing and referencing Cobain’s nonchalant attitude to dress.
Since Marc Jacobs’ notorious collection for Perry Ellis back in 1992 that lost him his job but earned him the love and admiration of the fashion world, grunge inspired style has appeared on the runways during the Fashion Week period and time again. This Autumn/Winter is no different. Courtney Love herself has openly expressed her approval of the recent Saint Laurent collection, which is the product of Hedi Slimane’s second season at the luxury fashion house.
However, just as with Jacob’s grunge creations many years before, the Saint Laurent offering has evoked both overwhelming love and blatant controversy, as many within the fashion industry were shocked to not be presented with the typical polished YSL ensembles. Such is the appeal of grunge – not only the ultimately cool, slightly dishevelled appearance, but also the accompanying rebellious attitude. Take it or leave it, this is a trend with ultimate staying power.
Head to Camden market, and you will be surrounded by a sea of both Nirvana tees, and those with Kurt’s photogenic face splashed artistically across them. Whilst this may not be the most high fashion interpretation of grunge, it is undeniable proof that Cobain looks likely to forever remain a style icon. Take a look at the 1998 documentary ‘Kurt & Courtney’ for footage that will reveal the inimitable musician before his life came to an untimely end, joining the ’27 Club’ when he died in 1994 from a much debated gunshot that was ruled as suicide but theorised to be a murder conspiracy involving his wife Courtney Love. Despite his early death, the clips that feature throughout the film depict a striking public figure, unlike many the world had seen before.
With his appealingly unkempt approach to clothing and signature unruly hair, it is no surprise that even in recent years, the likes of the popular East London hair salon ‘Bleach’ take inspiration from Kurt, naming their business after the debut Nirvana album and re-creating Cobain’s penchant for Kool Aid hair colour with their trademark dip dye’s that are available in a whole rainbow of different shades.
Nirvana aside, it seems that now is the time to indulge in utter fashion nostalgia. Currently, the whole Nineties’ vibe is being revived including beloved childhood garments such as plastic raincoats and jelly shoes. Northampton based footwear company JuJu are still producing everyone’s favourite plastic shoes in every colour imaginable, whilst East London clothing brand Brat and Suzie recently released a clear plastic anorak complete with a quirky dog print – simply add some flannel layers, break out your best bed hair, blast ‘Nevermind’ and you’ll be transported back in time. Take note, because this is ‘priceless advice’.
By Sophie Seymour.