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Musicians Who Defined Nineties Style

From Beastie Boys to Gwen Stefani, the artists who ruled the decade's fashion
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Kurt Cobain Click to Enlarge
Steve Pyke/Getty Images

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Steve Pyke/Getty Images

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain wouldn't want to be considered a style icon, certainly, and yet his impact on how people perceived Nineties style is absolutely crucial. He represented DIY anti-fashion, straight up. He was a beautiful man who didn't want his blond pulchritude to compromise his weight as an artist and thinker, so his deliberate grunginess can be read as a "fuck you" to both others and to his own sense of vanity. Not that this worked as planned: Cobain's ratty flannel, jeans and disheveled hair were hailed as emblematic of an angry Pacific Northwest music community's values and, furthermore, as the new look for a whole generation of disaffected youths. As with Courtney Love's violent kinderwhore look, Cobain's apathetic appearance accidentally became a new aesthetic standard and one of the first visuals that comes to mind during any 1990s discussion.

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