I enjoyed Champagne Supernovas more than I expected to, quite frankly.
The subtitle sums it up: it is about Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen through the 1990s (and a bit into the early 2000s). I wish there had been more photos of the fashion, but given how easy it is to search for the collections online, that’s a minor quibble.
You think of grunge when you think of 90s fashion, but that was really only a couple of years. The rest of the decade was still about stripping away the clothing armor of the 1980s, but it was a more put-together look. Marc Jacobs had the famous (infamous?) grunge collection that got him fired. Alexander McQueen was making art, not clothes a person would (or could) wear. And you can’t talk about fashion in the 1990s without Kate Moss.
It’s a great overview of the aesthetics of the decade and the clothes that went with it.
What’s it about?
Girl in a Band is about Kim Gordon’s life. Who’s Kim Gordon? She was the bassist for Sonic Youth, but the book doesn’t talk a huge amount about Sonic Youth. It’s about her childhood in Los Angeles; her years as a visual artist in 1980s NYC; it covers a bit about her marriage and the band and how some of the main albums were created.
Why should you read it?
Because Kim Gordon has her shit together. She is cooler than you because she has lived and spent time figuring things out: what kind of artist she wanted to be, what kind of parent she wanted to be, what was best for her. Reflecting on the book, I also think writing this might have been a way for her to define herself outside Sonic Youth and her marriage (since she is recently divorced). Who is Kim Gordon if she isn’t Sonic Youth? To clarify: the first draft might have been uncertain. The version that I read wasn’t. She has a clear sense of who she is and what she thinks and she is communicating that to you.
I want to be Kim Gordon. At least a little bit.