STYLE ICON: MELORA CREAGER
Maybe it's cause I was at my parents' house for the weekend, going through all my old records, but all of a sudden I've been REALLY FEELING MELORA CREAGER'S STYLE.
To start: you know her from Rasputina. She was in a few other bands before Rasputina, including Ultra Vivid Scene (picture above is from one of their videos). Melora also played cello on Nirvana's last tour, which is pretty significant to understanding her look if you remember that she comes from a sort of grunge-influence early 1990s milieu, style wise. Her songwriting is incisive, smart, and beautiful. I feel like I should address this, the bulk of her work. Even though I'm really just interested in writing about her visual style.
Rasputina started in the early 1990s in NYC as a "ladies cello society". Melora did all of the artwork for the early Rasputina releases (maybe even all of them?). She is a Cooper Union kid, which I guess explains the cello nerdness and possibly informs a certain obsessive, antiquarian aesthetic. Melora Creager was one of the last generations of young art stars to come through Cooper Union who still had to make their artwork manually. That is, without computerized help. She embroidered album covers, used copious gold stars. Everything is very intentional and I really like that. Melora had a specific aesthetic she was going for with the band's own style, and it was Victorian. Later on it branched out into some western / slightly offensive (to for my taste) appropriations of "indian princess" chic, but I think they should have kept it where they got it. The band, consiting of Melora and her longest-lasting collaborator, thee inimitable Miss Julia Kent, constantly fought the "goth" label. Which is pretty ridiculous. I mean:
It's totally goth. I'm sorry. It's gorgeous, and it's goth. And while I sort of dismissed it as unnecessarily fancy and surreal when they were coming up, I can really appreciate the aesthetic now. Think about it: Lower East Side, early 1990s. Melora and co. are arising in a very interesting time. It was the ascent of the indie-rocker. Grunge was rippling through actual youth fashion into designer nightmares and back again. Melora's commitment to filthy undergarments is so ahead of the game. She is pushing Courtney Love, Kat Bjelland, and Katie Jane Garside's collective looks, the Frances Farmer KinderWhore aesthetic, to it's logical conclusion. Melora has a sense of humour, she's kind of a dadaist in her fashion choices. The absolute commitment and totalness of her aesthetic allows for a lot more humor, and it's often really pretty. This is way before victorian-styled fashions were cute again. This is, of course, before "putting your look together" was really big in a big way. This is obviously eons before any knew anything about Steampunk or whatever. Looking at it recently, I was struck by how it reminds me of so much current style that I really like. Here is the beautiful iconic image of the band circa their first album, Thanks for the Ether.
And from Comme des Garçons, below:
Perswonally, I think their style was pitch-perfect by their second album, possibly my favorite, How We Quit the Forest.
And the strangely familiar Tim Hamilton knit leggings I'm really obsessed with:
Witchy hairpieces of the late 1990s:
Comme des Garçons, again:
Dior and McQueen:
Also worth mentioning is that Melora was an early champion of Anna Sui. They are friends, I think, and their aesthetics bleed into each others. Before there was Agness Deyn, Melora was the almost-poster girl for Anna Sui. Cute!
Here's a clip from a remix of "Thee Olde Headboard", showcasing their other aesthetic hobby, rollerskating. Adorable: