I’m as much of a sucker as anyone for a good Courtney Love train-wreck story, and The New York Times serves up a classic in the Sunday Styles section.
What was meant to be a Courtney-Resurrected-in-Fashion story veers quickly into a Courtney-Parades-With-Her-Clothes-Off saga. It only takes writer Eric Wilson a few paragraphs to get to the crazy:
“Shortly after 8 p.m., Ms. Love burst into the room with the Marchesa dress slung on one arm and the noted German Neo-Expressionist artist Anselm Kiefer on the other. She was entirely naked and leaning on Mr. Kiefer for support. She made one lap around the room, walking in front of a photographer, an assistant, a hairstylist and me. She pulled over her head a transparent lace dress that covered up nothing, and demanded my assistance — “Not you,” she said to Mr. Kiefer, who was bent over trying to help her — to stuff her feet into a pair of black Givenchy heels that were zipped up the back and tied with delicate laces in the front. Then she applied a slash of red lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth.
“’I really must get out of here,” Mr. Kiefer said.
“’Just a minute,” Ms. Love said, as she pushed her feet, shoes and all, through a pair of pink knickers that she said cost $4,000. She grabbed a trench coat, walked through the hotel lobby with her breasts exposed to an assortment of prominent fashion figures, including Stefano Pilati, the Yves Saint Laurent designer, and then exited the hotel. “
Wilson adds: “This is not at all how this story was meant to begin.”
For those of us who have not been paying attention (this would include me), Courtney Love moved from L.A. to New York about a year ago and began to establish herself in fashion circles.
What has she been up to?
She took up residence in the Mercer Hotel, and hung out with fashion A-listers like Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld. She now goes to the fashion shows where, according to Wilson, designers and stylists “have embraced her without concern for her unpredictable behavior.”
Wilson’s interview with Love went on for five hours he describes, and he even gives her credit for “a keen intelligence” – at least about the fashion industry. He calls her “calm, funny and well read.”
There was counterevidence (well, apart from that grand entrance): next to her bed, Wilson observes five prescription bottles and junk food. “These are my wakeup cupcakes, some anti-depressants and a cellphone book,” she declares.
It is possible that there are two completely separate Courtney Loves. The one that produces critically praised music, like that released in April on a new ‘Hole’ album, and the one who downs Zoloft with a cocktail chaser and greets Times writers naked.
Wilson is wary of being taken in by the former, and wisely reminds the reader of his predecessor, writer Dennis Cooper, who wrote a flattering profile of Love in 1994 in ‘Spin’ magazine– defending her from critics who said she enabled her husband Kurt Cobain’s addictions – only to have Cobain commit suicide by overdose just as the article was published.
The fashion community has embraced Love (where, we should add, watching women parade around naked is not that uncommon). There are plenty of odd birds in fashion, and perhaps they feel more kinship to her odd artistic appetites than the entertainment industry does.
The entertainment industry, however, has decisively made a different decision. Since a brilliant performance in 1996 in “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” she has descended into unemployability. She herself calls it “movie jail,” in the article.
And she ends it with a mea culpa to Wilson: “I trust you understand that our hearts can take us all to dark and ill timed places,” she writes.
Some of us more frequently than others.