There’s no polite way to describe Courtney Love‘s lingerie-based collab with Nasty Gal, which debuted with deserved fanfare yesterday: quite simply, it’s a grunge groupie’s wet dream and certain to be one of the year’s most coveted (and copied) collections.
Love, Courtney is a deliciously faithful re-imagining of styles made famous by the pioneering rock goddess two decades ago, the kind of pieces that once shocked on stage but are now meant for street and party wear.
The 18-piece set, which we previewed earlier this week, bowed on Nasty Gal‘s webshop just before noon yesterday after plenty of advance hype. Several pieces — including the instant-classic pink ‘Best Sunday Dress’ sheer babydoll — have already sold out.
Of course, early-90s grunge style has never really gone away, it’s just that millennials have turned it into more of an ironic costume than the paradigm-trashing anti-fashion statement it once was.
With Love, Courtney, however, Nasty Gal is trying to nudge it back into the contemporary fashion mainstream. In particular, the collection revives Courtney’s controversial kinderwhore aesthetic — incongruously doll-like clothing once worn by fearsome rebel bitches and copied by raging Gen X guttersnipes the world over.
All of your kinderwhore staples are here — tutu skirts and babydoll dresses, fishnet tights and short satin slips, tie-up high-waisted panties and sheer crop tops, bustiers and an insanely revealing lace unitard, along with a handful of jewelry accessories and three shoe styles
“We wanted bold, in-your-face clothing that still remained soft and pretty,” Nasty Gal designer Sarah Godshaw says in an explanatory note on the company’s website. “Basically, things that would technically be lingerie years ago, but now you’d wear as a dress.”
The collection is new territory for both parties: it’s Courtney’s first fashion line, and it’s Nasty Gal‘s first celebrity collaboration.
And the online retailer has turned it into much more than just another fashion collection: Love, Courtney is a celebration of Courtney herself and her no-apologies persona, a fangirl’s homage to a much-loved, much-maligned and woefully misunderstood renegade who forged her art from the crucible of personal trauma.
“Courtney’s spirit is so ‘fuck you’ in the best way,” Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso writes, “and those are the women I love most in the world.”
The company gives fans plenty to gush over, with a generous marketing package that provides a tantalizing glimpse into Courtney’s life and style.
There’s a great black-and-white lookbook featuring model Hailey Clauson (who could pass for Courtney circa 1988), and one online page that shows pictures of Love, Courtney pieces alongside archival concert photos of the Hole singer in her prime, dressed in outfits that inspired the new collection.
The biggest treat is reading about the Nasty Gal team exploring Courtney’s closet for inspiration and fingering the awesome assortment of eclectic, kinky, vintage-inspired pieces that are lovingly preserved there.
“Seeing Courtney’s most nostalgic pieces and being able to casually thumb through them over coffee in her bedroom was so surreal,” writes Sophia Amoruso. “Everything in her closet was amazing — it wasn’t intimidating, it was beautiful and eclectic.”
And, adds Sarah Godshaw, “it was totally not a Mariah Carey closet — THANK GOD.
“It was a room full of racks and eclectic hangers with tons of vintage inspiration that we eventually based the collection on.”
Courtney herself was a part of the design process in the early stages, and doodled on the team’s original illustrations (above) with ideas for embellishments.
Courtney Love is now in her 50s and — a long-promised Hole reunion tour notwithstanding — much of her iconic wardrobe is probably going to wind up in a museum retrospective someday. Until then, Love, Courtney offers convincing evidence that the authentic rebel spirit of rock ‘n roll will never go out of style.
[More lookbook photos below, followed by individual product shots. Click to enlarge.]