And what it was like to dress Kurt Cobain, Gwen Stefani, and all of Sofia Coppola's muses.
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If you've dressed up for Halloween like Kurt Cobain in "Come as You Are" or Kirsten Dunst in The Virgin Suicides, if you've channeled Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine or Gwen Stefani in her No Doubt music videos, you've done it because Nancy Steiner made those looks famous, iconic in ways that distinguish you from the cat-eared masses.
Steiner has worked in Hollywood since the mid-'80s, scoring her first gig at NaNa, a punk clothing mecca and a destination for stylists who need to outfit bands for their music videos. She was the woman who always seemed to find the stylists the best stuff. "A few of them said, 'If you ever decide to leave, you should come work for me,'" she remembers. "And that's what I did."
Steiner also dressed No Doubt, R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins, even Nirvana in the early '90s. It was Steiner who put Kurt Cobain in that famed green sweater―a geriatric-but-not look that became inextricably linked to Nirvana when the music video for "Come As You Are" shot the band to fame.
Steiner eventually moved on to movies and then television, discovering she had a particular knack for working with famously opinionated indie directors. She and Sofia Coppola met through mutual friends. She's worked with Todd Haynes, Wim Wenders, Yorgos Lanthimos. She just wrapped up on the set of Twin Peaks, a revival that's bound to inspire a new generation of inadvertent Steiner acolytes. Halloween is only nine months away.