Lil' Blonde Darling: Kat Bjelland ~ Darian Darling: A Guide To Life For Modern Blondes!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lil' Blonde Darling: Kat Bjelland

 Blonde Beauty Icon Kat Bjelland

No, you're not looking at photos of Courtney Love, although the disheveled blonde hair, pale powdered skin, red lips, baby barrettes and tattered baby doll dresses may have fooled you. This is Kat Bjelland, lead singer/guitarist for the all-girl alt.rock band Babes In Toyland, who coincidentally was Courtney Love's BFF turned "frenemy", and who many credit with the creation of the "Kinderwhore" look in the early 90's (the look Courtney Love eventually made famous).

Kat was born in Oregon and moved to Portland after graduating high school in 1982. There she formed several rock bands without much success. In 1984 Kat met Courtney Love, who was looking to form an all-girl rock band called Sugar Baby Doll, and persuaded her to join as lead guitarist. They moved to San Francisco, where Kat and Court bonded over a love of recreational pharmaceuticals and formed a new all-girl band Pagan Babies. The band was quite short-lived and only played two gigs (they spent much more time getting fucked up know...rehearsing/writing/performing) before breaking up in 1985.

 Pagan Babies

In 1987, Kat moved to Minneapolis to form Babes In Toyland, and Courtney soon followed her to join as a replacement bassist. She was kicked out of the band twice (although they still remained close friends) before forming Hole in 1989. Babes In Toyland went on to be quite successful on the alt.rock scene and opened for Sonic Youth on their 1990 European tour. They eventually got signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1992 and were part of the Lollapalooza tour in 1993. Something fans of both bands  noticed during this time was that Kat and Courtney looked kind of, well, similar! A major feud started between Kat and Courtney, who BOTH claimed, without a shadow of doubt, that she was the originator and true mastermind of the look. A feud that would only escalate each time one of these dueling friends bands would become more successful.

It certainly isn't uncommon for girl friends to be inspired by each others fashion sense and borrow each others clothes. Although when one starts to get fame and notoriety in said clothes, it certainly changes the game. In the video for Babes In Toyland's 1992 single "Bruise Violet", photographer Cindy Sherman appears as Kat's evil blonde, babydoll dress wearing doppelgänger (a not so thinly veiled allusion to Courtney) whom she strangles at the end. The video was hoped to be a huge success on MTV and firmly cement Kat as the creator of the "Kinderwhore" look to the general public. Unfortunately, the video was only shown a few times on the late-night alt.rock show 120 Minutes. Courtney trumped that ace by marrying Nirvana frontman and King of Grunge Kurt Cobain, becoming a darling of the tabloids and exposing the Kinderwhore look to the mass-media with Hole's mainstream success in 1994. However, when Kurt committed suicide in 1994, the first person to be by Courtney's side was Kat.

Matching Mourning Looks

It remains to be seen who actually originated the look. Is it possible that Courtney Love is a devious "look-kleptomaniac", who appropriated her best friends style and became a superstar? Well, stranger things have happened. Or was it Kat Bjelland who "Single White Femaled" her BFF? Maaaaaaybe. Nobody will really know for sure....except for these two rivals (well, and all their friends). Whatever the certainly was one of the iconic looks of the 1990s. Brava ladies!


 Please note the half empty bottle of Jack

 Rock N' Roll Goldilocks

Baby Jane


Getting back at your best friend for stealing your look by killing her in a music video is quite genius, don't you think?

With Kurt and Courtney. Possibly the most 90s photo EVER!

 Miss Priss

Pretty in Pink

Chillin' with Courtney at Lollapalooza 1993



The crinkled backdrop NEEDS to come back.


  1. but all in all kat bjelland didn't have the essentials for the kind of fame courtney commanded which stuck with her through several reinventions.

  2. A great post. Thanks!