We’re now over two decades into Avril Lavigne’s career and her legacy can be heard loud and clear when studying the younger generation of today. Her impact is so obvious that her self-proclaimed title as “the motherfucking princess” (sang in her 2007 chart-topping hit “Girlfriend”) has somewhat become outdated now that she’s evidently queen of the throne.
Avril Lavigne photographed by Anthony Giovanni , Fashion by Edwin J Ortega , Fashion assistant Casey Comfort , Hair by Alana Schober , Makeup by Alexis Oakley , Nail tech Victoria Rose Hendrix , Set Design Isaac Aaron , Set assistants Charlotte Cahill and Matthew Banister , Avril's Creative Manager Lauren Bates , Digital and light tech João Pedro de Oliveira , Photo assistant Jordan Frame , Production assistant Andrew Barrios , Words by Fabio Magnocavallo , Cinematography by Aramis Duran , Location Grey Card Studio
Avril wears Moschino with a pair of Ginissima boots
Avril wears Stella Mccartney
Avril wears Moschino
Avril wears Dion Lee
Picture this, it’s the year 2002, and the music industry is jam-packed with superstars. Jennifer Lopez became the first female recording artist to have a number-one film and album simultaneously, Eminem is rap’s best-selling artist, the Neptunes are the hottest producers on the scene, Destiny’s Child are riding high as a trio, and Madonna and Janet Jackson are still on top of their game. Not to mention that there was a brand spanking new generation of pop divas in Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Pink.
In March of that year, an unknown 17-year-old singer from Belleville, Ontario, Canada, named Avril Lavigne would kickstart her own rise to superstardom with her first single, “Complicated.” The Matrix-produced track, co-written about people who feign in front of others, was an instant hit with listeners and quickly paved the way for the punk-pop sound that would later dominate the charts. Lavigne's debut studio album “Let Go,” which continued to boast the hits “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You,” sold a hefty 16 million copies around the world, welcomed a whole wave of guitar-driven female rockers, including Hayley Williams (Paramore), Jenna McDougall (Tonight Alive), and The Veronicas, and helped mold the refreshingly raw sound for albums from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, Miley Cyrus, and Demi Lovato.
What made Lavigne’s come up so alarming was that she was debuting after an era of manufactured pop groups and squeaky-clean teen idols. She played instruments, wrote her own music, and had an uncompromising attitude that didn’t feel forced — which would be why critics referred to her as the “anti-Britney” or the “female answer to Blink-182.” Managing to capture the hearts of a young audience who had her posters on their walls, it wasn’t just her sound and attitude that was getting all the attention. Lavigne’s tomboyish sense of style was a wardrobe revolution in its own right. The singer sported her trademark baggy jeans, camo pants, studded bracelets, and her necktie-and-tank-top-combinations, and set an immediate trend and allowed her to be embraced as a fashion icon, resulting in fans rushing to their nearest Hot Topic store as a means to emulate the same look.
Reflecting on that time period, Lavigne admits it's a cultural moment that still takes her by surprise today as she didn't realize that her authenticity would then be reproduced by fans who wanted to be just like her. "It was really flattering. I was always just being myself and dressing how I wanted to, so to see others taking on my style, I really couldn’t believe it," she tells MOOD. "I remember showing up to morning shows, award shows, or talk shows and seeing girls dressed like me with the tie or the baggy pants and thinking, 'Wow, that’s crazy.' It was all happening so fast that everything at that time was a surprise."
With such a distinctive look so early on, Lavigne jokes that her dad, Jean-Claude Lavigne, was her first fashion icon. "The first tie I ever wore I took from my dad, so I guess he was?" she says. But really, it was being "drawn towards the skate culture" during high school that she states helped find her identity, and would shape an entire generation's fashion choices.
In all honesty, very few musicians have been able to shift music and fashion culturally with just one album release. Lavigne, however, is among a short list of artists that can actually brag about doing so. She was what label executives would refer to as having “the full package.” But while enjoying a lot of success can be really validating, taking in the whirlwind as a teenager was a lot for Lavigne to digest, especially when everything was so new to her. "I don’t think I totally realized what was going on," Lavigne admits. "I always had so much purity and love for music, but to be honest, I was relieved it was working so I didn’t have to go back to school," she adds with a laugh. "I definitely had no idea what my future had in store and every day I am so grateful for this experience."
With the industry being so fast-paced and creatives always working on what’s to come, it's not often that artists are able to look back and indulge in nostalgia for very long. For “Let Go’s” 20th anniversary last year, Lavigne made sure to find the time to celebrate with fans. To honor its milestone, Lavigne recreated the album artwork by posing on the exact same crossing in New York where the original was taken. "I was on the way to Madison Square Garden to play with Machine Gun Kelly and we stopped by the spot where we took the original photo," Lavigne says. "It was like stepping back into a time machine and recreating the moment, it was super sentimental to me."
The opportunity to get nostalgic has resulted in Lavigne taking a further deep dive into her past. This time, with costumes. "I am super lucky that I have always been into archiving things, so I have so many relics from my past," she says. "This summer I actually went through my archives and I have all my music video outfits, even the first ones from ‘Sk8er Boi’ and ‘Complicated,’ and it was a reminder of how long I have been doing this and how far I’ve come."
Following "Let Go," music and fashion continued to evolve with each of Lavigne’s future releases, whether that be with the dark and emotional “Under My Skin” – where she ditched her skater clothing for a more gothic aesthetic, wearing tutus and black outfits to match the album's angst – the light and carefree “The Best Damn Thing” – when Lavigne swapped black for pink and adopted a more playful, girly image, dying her hair blonde with a pink streak, rocking fishnet tights with heels, and sporting an overall cheerleader look – or her most recent “Love Sux” era -- where she debuted a lob haircut while making latex thigh-high boots and custom-made costumes the new standard.
The queen of authentic reinvention, Lavigne undoubtedly continued to impact the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Maggie Lindemann, Nessa Barrett, WILLOW, Holly Humberstone, and Billie Eilish, to name a few. After all, she did help build the castle the new generation are living in. But, with her legacy being played out in real-time, how does Lavigne feel about watching the young stars of today? "Those are all amazing songwriters and they have their own unique individual style that I think is super rad," Lavigne says. "They are super talented and super cool, and it is dope that they were into my music and to know that they connected to my music at one point in their lives."
After making bold statements throughout her first three album cycles, it felt like a natural progression for Lavigne to take her passion for fashion to the next level. By doing that, she launched her own rockstar-inspired label, Abbey Dawn, named after her childhood nickname, at 24 years old in the fall of 2008. With a variety of items from clothing, accessories, and footwear that featured studs, skulls, pins, polka dots, stars, slogans, and graphic prints all over, Abbey Dawn served as an extension of Lavigne’s closet and proved to be a massive success with customers. So successful, in fact, she was able to show off her line on the runway, open up a store in Japan, have Kylie Jenner model the garments, and later expand with men’s clothing. "That was so much fun!" she says with excitement. However, the idea of having her own label was more than just building an empire for herself as Lavigne explains, “When I was shopping for myself I would get frustrated because I couldn’t find the clothes I wanted to wear so I thought, 'Let me just make my own.’" She continues, "Getting the line out there and to my fans was incredible and we even showed it at New York Fashion Week."
Now, as a more mature 38-year-old, Lavigne still takes a big interest in fashion. Describing her style as "Rock n Roll" and "Glam,” Lavigne believes that despite her many reinventions, her image today is not too far removed from the teenager we were first introduced to back in 2002. "I am still wearing Docs and Chuck Taylors like I did when I first started," she says. "But now I am mixing them with more high fashion brands like Rick Owens and Vetements." That said, when juggling a busy schedule and traveling in and out of airports, Lavigne insists that's when "fashion has to meet both style and comfort." She adds, "I always have to have a comfy, matching sweatsuit that is great for traveling and hanging out and oversized sunglasses are a must for early days."
That style and comfort combination she’s referring to will be something Lavigne is all so familiar with, especially when she's just wrapped up a world tour that saw her visit four different continents. And even after all these years, the stage still is where Lavigne feels most at home. "My favorite part of my job is being up onstage live and performing. I started my year off on a sold-out Canadian tour, going out with Machine Gun Kelly, playing South American festivals, a sold-out arena in Japan, and finishing up with a sold-out European tour," she says. "It was a blast to get back up onstage doing what I love after the pandemic. Every time I come off tour, I am ready for what’s next and excited to keep going."
Avril wears Stella Mccartney
Avril wears Versace
Avril wears Moschino
So, what exactly is next for Lavigne, you say? A Las Vegas residency?
"Never say never," she says. "I went to Vegas recently and saw the Usher residency and was blown away, so I would want to do something as incredible as that. When the time comes around, I do have a lot of ideas."
Okay, how about another album? Previously, Lavigne told fans she had been in the studio with John Feldmann, Travis Barker, Yungblud and All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth.
"I can’t say a lot right now," she teases. "But I have been working with incredible musicians and producers in the studio. I plan to release something next year and am actively booking tour dates."
With so many accomplishments under her belt, there are still some things Lavigne wants to tick off her list. And some of her goals are fashion-related. After her recent appearances at Paris and New York Fashion Week, Lavigne is keen to make her Met Gala debut in the near future. Her designer of choice? Someone who enjoys taking risks. "I would love to work with someone who isn’t afraid to push boundaries and create something truly special that no one has ever seen me do before," Lavigne says.
She'd also like to further her cooking obsession in some way. "One of the things I love to do in my personal life is cooking. I would love to do a cooking show, either judging or hosting my own," she adds.
To put it lightly, the first 20 years of Lavigne’s career have been a crazy ride. Unlike many of her peers who have been doing it for as long as Lavigne has, she hasn’t started to feel uninspired and is still very forward-thinking. In the past four years alone, she’s released two studio albums, lent her vocals to a handful of features, embarked on a world tour, and made an appearance in Machine Gun Kelly’s comedy film, Good Mourning. Her fans, dubbed her Little Black Stars, have never been fed so much. And yet, the music powerhouse is ready to share even more and make new memories with them. She credits two recent events for her continuous devotion and hunger for the job. “[After] celebrating 20 years of ‘Let Go’ and receiving my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that has me excited for what the next 20 years has to bring,” she says.
Here’s to never growing out of Avril Lavigne!
Avril wears Dion Lee
Avril wears Versace