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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT O ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO
More than 20 years after his death, the lead singer of Nirvana is the subject of a new documentary and inspires collections of some of the major brands.
Nineties style is back and the spokesman of the grunge movement seems to be more relevant than ever. Nirvana’s bandleader, Kurt Cobain managed to express in his tunes the anguish that the youth faced in the beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century. With his plaid shirts, destroyed pants and oversized sweaters he broke the exaggerated plastic aesthetics of the ‘80s pop artists and inaugurated a new era. His style and music are promising to influence a new generation today thanks to the Brett Morgen new documentary “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”, released last month.
Everything that Kurt Cobain used to wear, no matter how simple it was, generated some sort of fascination. His carefree style was a counterculture symbol since he despised other people’s opinion. What supported this movement was the appearance of another icon that followed steady and strong, the stylist Marc Jacobs. Twenty years later, he is still breaking the rules. Last week he posted by accident a picture of himself naked on Instagram.
Cobain’s rise and fall happened together with the arrival of the American stylist that in 1993 lead the brand Perry Ellis and was getting ready to show his spring-summer collection at New York Fashion Week. With a casting that included the most expensive models of the time, such as Carla Bruni, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, the fashion show left the press and the fashion industry of those days more perplexed than enchanted. On the catwalks, Doc Martens cothurnus, long plaid skirts, pajama-style shirts, unkempt hair and a cap that looked more like a sock on the head. It was a clear tribute to the emerging Seattle underground scene; something totally out of the glamorous circuit that Fashion Weeks represented back in the day.
The Marc Jacobs grunge show broke paradigms, but they fired the stylist subsequently and did not even produce the collection. However, nothing that would stay in the way of his promising career. Today, two decades later Hedi Slimane decided to bring the style back into the fashion world. In the front line of the French brand Saint Laurent, the stylist reproduced identical items used by Kurt Cobain, with the same textures and patterns that initially caused controversy but ended up becoming one of the biggest success stories of the French group Kering. Besides conglobating the brand, Kering is also responsible for other brands’ management such as Gucci and Balenciaga.
Cobain left a heritage bigger than his music. Until this day, millions of young people wish to express rebellion and indifference the way he did, transforming anguish in art and style. His legacy goes beyond the underground universe and today is reproduced on large-scale by the giants of fast fashion. It is all about an anti-hero that succeeded. A tragedy tale that reappears in 2015, maintaining lighted the grunge flame for a new generation that sees in the singer a reference in the search for a meaning in life in the age of overexposure.