Converse, Supreme and an emerging NY style star – on the film’s 20th anniversary, we revisit its fashion
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a film whose #1 goal seemed to be to pack in enough unprotected teen sex and nihilism to make Middle America clutch its pearls so hard they turned to dust, the clothes in Larry Clark’s 1995 film Kids don’t get much attention. Its costume designer seems to have dropped off into obscurity (Kim – if you’re reading this, call me!) and even its script, famously penned by a teenage Harmony Korine, is pretty scanty when it comes to wardrobe direction. Clothing usually only becomes a focus when it’s being removed (in the opening scene, Korine writes that 17-year-old Telly should be “naked except for a tight pair of white underwear”; his virginal soon-to-be sex partner “wearing a black bra” but with “one of her nipples... poking through”).
Today celebrating its twentieth anniversary, Clark’s work has gone on to inspire (and horrify) many, including the likes of designer JW Anderson, who teamed up with the artist for a limited edition zine earlier this year. (“I’ve loved everything he’s done since Kids,” he told us. “I felt like such a rebel going to see it. My parents were maybe not so impressed.”) To mark its milestone anniversary, we turn our focus on its clothing – head here for a comprehensive secret history of the film, annotated by the people who made it.
SUPREME AND SKATERS WERE KEY
This year, Larry Clark teamed up with Supreme to mark the film’s anniversary, releasing a limited edition series of t-shirts and skate decks (one tee even came complete with the film’s famous last words “Jesus Christ. What happened?” printed across the back). But the collaboration was far from tokenistic – by the time Clark came to make the film, he’d been surrounding himself with skaters for a good few years, and even met half of the cast in the newly opened Supreme store. Although not obviously worn by any of the main characters (Casper rocks an Independent t-shirt, paired with some super-wide trousers and classic low Converse All Stars), the brand’s famous box-print tee makes a very brief appearance – flashing on screen in the fight sequence for all of a few seconds as one participant aims his kicks at the camera.
ITS STAR WAS ALREADY A DOWNTOWN STYLE ICON
With her Breathless meets Rosemary’s Baby pixie crop and silent movie pencil eyebrows, Chloë Sevigny walked on to our screens as Jennie, the HIV-positive teen whose character was an affront to stereotypes that swirled around the disease. Although her outfit of a blue tee, jeans and a red belt stays consistent throughout the film (save from a flashback scene), Sevigny herself was already making a name as a fashion fixture of New York, having been spotted by a stylist when skipping school from Connecticut and going on to become an intern at Sassy magazine and star in Sonic Youth’s “Sugar Kane” video. Dating writer Korine at the time, Sevigny was upgraded from pool scene extra to star before shooting began.
THE 90s STYLE SIGNATURES WERE ALL THERE
Micro buns with multicoloured hair ties? Check. Crazy blue and pink dye jobs? Check. Camo, baggy jeans (slung below boxers), bandanas, ringer tees, backwards caps, plaid shirts and hoop earrings? All present and correct. Clark wanted the film to have the candid feel of a documentary, as if the audience was sneaking a peek at a tribe it could watch but never join. “The thing I liked about it then was it was so not commercial,” Clark recently explained. “There wasn’t, like, a certain kind of clothes you had to wear. The whole thing was, you know, what you wore to skate – you wore what you were comfortable in. Everybody dressed differently, there was no uniform. You didn’t have to have these shoes or that shirt.” The clothes embraced by the cast were almost anti-fashion, embracing simplicity over Clueless-style prints, slinky mini dresses and OTT accessories.
Watch the trailer for Kids below: