Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain Fashion Icon Biography

Copyright © AFP / Bonfire Films / Sidetrack Films / The Kobal Collection – Kurt Cobain

Fewer artists have left an indelible yet subtle impact on pop culture, however, Kurt Cobain, after nearly two decades still resonates in so much music and fashion. Defining a generation, Cobain introduced the world to a new genre, where conviction was convention, and bed hair was a statement.

Born in 1967, Kurt Cobain began life as a small, happy blonde child with eyes as blue as the ocean in Washington, USA. Much debate has occurred as to when Kurt morphed from this, to the more withdrawn and desensitised character that became a world wide phenomenon.

In the biography written by Charles. S. Cross, Heavy Than Heaven, he notes the separation of his parents and the dwindling state of of the family unit as a cause.

After years of living life as a rebel without a cause, Cobain finally got his break when he met Chris Novoselic whilst hanging out at a friends space. From this meeting, the foundations for Nirvana were set.

The first album, Bleach, debuted and lead to a reformation, removing the current drummer and replacing him with Dave Grohl. Success soon followed swiftly with their second, most recognised album, Nevermind.

During this period, growing mainstream success came, and whilst fighting against the current, Cobain’s ambivalence to fame was due to artistic reasons, citing that people were misconstruing his lyrics and artistry.

The world embraced a new royal couple in early 1990 when Kurt met Courtney Love of the band, Hole. There meeting was magnetic, and soon were bonded through love and shared drug use. The relationship progressed into a family where they married on a beach in Hawaii, Kurt wearing pyjamas and Courtney, a vintage lace dress worn by Frances Farmer. Their family evolved, and soon introduced baby Francis Bean Cobain, however, not even a family could help Kurt’s evasiveness from the world.

Becoming a tabloid fixture, Cobain’s lax, disconnected style became a heavy focus. In the music videos such as, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Heart Shaped Box” it showed Kurt in large loose flannel with long, unwashed hair and stone wash jeans projecting a man fighting everything that culture was about. Who can forget the moth-eaten emerald cardigan in their MTV’s Unplugged session. Unlike others before him, this image was picked up and emulated by millions, becoming a new genre of clothing after a designer obsessed society.

Blasted for his look at first, his almost jester approach to fashion caught on, and armed with white rimmed sunglasses and a leopard fur coat, created a new breed which instead of trickling down, rose all the way up to the top fashion houses.

A structured look, gleaming with flash and flamboyance which had been the pinnacle of fashion at the time, was replaced by looser, deconstructed, and worn down clothing where designers were all trying to keep up with the fast wave of a cultural change.

Nearly 20 years later the effects of Kurt Cobain’s legacy can be seen everywhere. A youth revolt has lead to the reinvention of grunge and with the vintage craze, has re-birthed past disregarded tees and oversized jumpers, allowing a whole new generation to dance in Kurt’s mark on pop culture.

Tobias Orrells

Written by Tobias Orrells

Tobias Orrells graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in International Journalism, however, steering away from news, has focused his creativity to reporting on the progression of men’s fashion. He is an avid writer and lover of fashion and music and combining the two helps create the icon profiles. Looking after the Catwalk Yourself Icons biographies


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