February’s issue of Rolling Stone features Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, who make up the indie supergroup boygenius, paying homage to an iconic cover from Rolling Stone’s archives. The pin-stripe suited trio stare down the camera and emulate the energy of Nirvana, who graced the cover of the magazine in similar garb back in 1994. Photographer Ryan Pfluger was chosen to emulate the energy of that cover shoot, while also channeling something new.
“Being the one recreating the iconic Nirvana cover originally by Mark Seliger, with three queer women that I really respect was a rad experience and moment,” Pfluger shared via Instagram. “Recreating photography from another time period that aesthetically is pretty different than my usual vibe, is a f**king challenge.”
A new video from Rolling Stone gives a behind the scenes view of Pfluger on set with boygenius capturing the cover image. It also provides insight into the importance of collaboration when it comes to pulling off a magazine cover shoot like this one.
The majority of big budget magazine cover shoots involve teams of people working alongside the photographer—hair and makeup artists, digi techs, art directors and PAs are often on set to make sure that the shoot is running smoothly. For this particular shoot stylist Jared Ellner and vintage specialist Alexandra Mitchell were particularly important in executing the final images for the cover.
“I feel like the main component in this is humor, they both have such a good use of comedy and light heartedness about fashion” says Ellner. “I wanted to make sure that was really highlighted.”
Alexandra Mitchell explains how the initial concept for emulating Nirvana came together nearly two years ago. She was interested in recreating a look that appeared in Mademoiselle Magazine and was hoping to source the exact pieces for boygenius to wear.
“They felt obtainable,” she says. “I should have known better, because finding vintage on demand is impossible.”
With a bit of time and patience Mitchell was able to connect with original designers and source some of the pieces that were created during the same era that the Nirvana images were shot.
Finding the Suits
“The first thing I started was the hunt for the perfect suit,” Ellner says. “This whole thing revolved around the perfect matching pinstripe suits.”
According to Ellner the suits were key in emulating the silhouette featured on the original Nirvana cover. Mitchell worked to pull a variety of vintage pins and badges that adorn the suits. Look closely because each of them reference different lyrics specific to Bridgers, Baker and Dacus’s solo work in addition to their work as boygenius.
Check out more from the Rolling Stone cover shoot in the video below.