Has there ever been a bigger influence on fashion than our first lady of grunge, Courtney Love? The answer is "Non, mon bébé d'amour!" There could not be, there never shall be, and there never will be.
So perish the thought and come with me on a jaunt through the very best of the Love, Courtney for Nasty Gal collection that drops today. (I went to the launch party in Los Angeles last night — it was the stuff that Hollywood dreams are made of. There was cake! And champagne! And free mini-tiaras at the door!)
While we're at it, take a trip with me down memory lane to look at some of my very favorite of Courtney's styles (as she wore 'em throughout my own formative style years — aka the rockin' 1990s).
In 1995, Courtney had not yet made her career-defining appearance in The People Vs. Larry Flynt, so designers were loathe to loan her a dress for the Oscars. Which was no bother to Courtney — she simply bought a silk charmeuse slip gown at a thrift store for $40, added a tiara and best pal Amanda De Cadenet, et voilà! An iconic look is born. (If ever there was an embodiment of the adage "fashion fades, but style is eternal", this is it.)
Did I head to the mall to to buy a slinky charmeuse floor-length gown the very minute I saw that pic in 1995? Yes, yes I did. (And wore it layered with endless black band tees, so exactly nothing has changed style-wise for me since then.)
This floor-length slip dress from the Courtney x Nasty Gal collection is perfect and timeless — great worn on it's own, layered with a vintage band tee, topped with a fake fur, or simply to bed after a long night out.
By the year Y2K, Courtney's Hollywood fashion cred had skyrocketed — and this slashed John Galliano gown from the 2000 Golden Globes (styled by none other than Madonna's personal costume designer Arianne Phillips) is really the pinnacle of rock-chick-gone-Hollywood style. It's so Stevie Nicks does grunge, and might actually be my favorite thing Courtney ever wore.
As Courtney herself told Stevie Nicks in Spin magazine circa 1997: "Being a movie star is pretty cool, but being a rock star is just better. Especially a lady rock star." And so it makes sense that this Stevie-inspired kimono made it's way into the collection:
No discussion of Courtney's style would be complete without mentioning the classic baby doll dresses she rode straight to stardom. It's crazy how current the 'Kinderwhore' look still is a full 25 years later.
Someone at the launch party was wearing this pink baby doll dress from the collection with black tights, an exposed bra, and ratted curls. She was a bleached blonde vision — and would have been right at home in Seattle circa 1996.
Other standouts from the collection include this incredible pair of Miu Miu-inspired jeweled Mary Janes which Courtney herself was wearing at the party (add a ribbon to the strap for serious Kinderwhore cred), the perfect lacy granny panties (you guys, I've been trying to tell you that shapewear is SO YESTERDAY) and a bra that was meant for layering.
I had the opportunity at last night's collection launch party to ask Courtney and Nasty Gal #GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso a bunch of hard-hitting questions, so of course I squandered the opportunity by asking them dumb stuff about their closets and shopping habits instead.
Alison Freer: I'm going to ask you guys probably some of the dumbest questions you've ever been asked.
Sophia Amoruso: Yay!
Alison: Do you keep clothes that have sentimental value?
Courtney Love: My house is literally a closet!
Sophia: Well of course I do.
Alison: Is your closet crazy organized?
Courtney: I have an excellent housekeeper who I hired primarily because she knows clothes.
Sophia: The second I walk into my closet, it's like a very confused, body-conscious tornado hit it.
Alison: This question is for Courtney specifically. How many pairs of un-ripped tights do you own?
Sophia: One! The pair she's got on right now.
Courtney: I'm not into runs anymore, but they can happen very easily — you just go like this (Courtney makes scratching motions and a cat noise while clawing at her fishnet tights). The pair I'm wearing will have runs by the end of the night.
Sophia: Who makes this pair you're wearing?
Courtney: Wolford. I only buy Wolford now.
Alison: What's your favorite outfit you ever wore?
Courtney: Golden Globes. The black shredded dress from John Galliano's 'Rag Ball' collection.
Alison: Circa 2000, right?
Alison: Wait, that's MY favorite outfit that you've ever worn! I'm using it in my post.
Sophia: I used to have a pair of red, vintage high-water Levi's Stay-Prest pants that looked so good — they were my San Francisco rootin' tootin' scootin' pants, but my butt won't fit into them anymore.
Courtney: Wait, I have another one! A vintage white lace kind of Tricia Nixon-style bracelet sleeve dress that I wore on tour until it was stiff — you could stand it up. It's not included in this collection, but it may be in the next one.
Alison: I have one last question for Courtney specifically: Are you still a die-hard Etsy shopper? Your post on xoJane where you showed us your Etsy page so we could peep your favorites is still my very favorite post on the site.
Courtney: When my CPA hears the word Etsy he instantly bans me. Etsy loved me so much that for three straight years they sent me food baskets! I no longer use Etsy for anything but art supplies.
Alison: I still troll your favorites from time to time. Your taste is unparalleled.
Courtney: Etsy is the best. But it kills my accountant. He can't handle it.
And then with their impeccable manners, Courtney and Sophia both said "goodbye & nice to meet you" like regular cool girls and my heart almost stopped.
Oh, did I already mention they were giving out free tiaras to everyone who walked in the door of the party?
But the real star of this party was, in my opinion, the dressing rooms at Nasty Gal Melrose. They are glistening infinity cubes with two-way mirrored doors and perfect lighting that brings your inner party girl roaring to life:
Alison Freer is the author of 'How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing'.