Style Musings with Rock Legend Kim Gordon (Yes, You Read Right)

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Attention fellow rock aficionadas, ’90s kids and music savants: We chatted with the godmother of grunge about her style evolution, the clothes she’s passed on to her daughter Coco and the one thing you’ll never see her wearing.

The costars of our Madewell x Daryl K® collab are none other than Kim Gordon and her daughter Coco Gordon Moore. Daryl and Kim were mutual fans of one another during the ’90s (Kim was a regular at Daryl’s East Village boutique), so the pairing was, well, pretty perfect. As Kim puts it, “I was such a fan of hers back in the day. Being in Daryl’s clothes again felt really natural, really familiar.” We caught up with Kim to pick her brain on what else she finds sartorially natural these days, and her memories of NYC in the ’90s.

Rock icons can often be known for their look as much as their sound and Kim is no exception—as the cofounder and bass player for Sonic Youth, her signature blonde hair, kohl-rimmed eyes and minidresses were just as captivating as her low, growling vocals. But don’t tell Kim that. In her memoir, Girl in a Band, she writes, “In retrospect, it’s ridiculous that anyone saw me as a fashion icon, since all I was trying to do was dumb down my middle class look by messing with my hair.”

But fashion icon she was, and to this day still is. Currently, when performing with her noise guitar project, Body/Head, her blonde hair and eyeliner remain and she still doesn’t shy away from a little dress. “I’ve always loved finding things in my closet that are vintage and updating them—making tweaks,” she explains. “I’m not a designer but that kind of thing is definitely ingrained in me.” So much so that she actually launched a line of clothing, X-Girl, with stylist Daisy von Furth in 1993. Counting Anita Pallenberg, Françoise Hardy and French New Wave icon Anna Karina among her influences, Kim’s edgy breed of style is, ironically, rooted in her appreciation for the classics.

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“[Back in the ’90s] I loved Pro-Keds, T-shirts, parkas that felt sort of hip-hop and bootcut cords I’d pick up at flea markets,” she says, remembering her favorite pieces from that time. “Daryl did these great skinny, low-slung pants that fit really well. I had a pair in vinyl that I wore well through my pregnancy. They were stretchy and everyone thought I was in leather.” That was back when she was pregnant with her daughter, Coco, who has inherited Kim’s interest in fashion. According to Kim, “Coco’s much more sophisticated than I was at her age.” Though Coco does, as any reasonable woman in her shoes would, wear lots of Kim’s old clothes. “Sometimes I see her and ask, ‘Did I really give you that?’ It’s great to see my old stuff being worn and she’s so appreciative of it.”

Anything Kim’s kept from those days? “I’m more conservative in the way I dress now. As you get older, you don’t want to feel like a crazy person. Older women in Paris can really pull a look off. I’m less likely to buy something that’s impractical to wear. I’m always looking for T-shirts, things that are just effortless and cool.” And what you won’t see her wear? As in never, ever? “High heels. My arches are high so I try not to wear a heel higher than two inches.” Fittingly, there are no stilettos to be found in the Madewell x Daryl K collection.

Shop the full Madewell x Daryl K collection, featuring Kim and her daughter Coco, here.