||You can always get what you want
There are new designs from Garrard which need her approval; a guest list for an opening party that needs culling and the new maid has to get the house ready for the arrival of Calvin Klein… Welcome to the world of Jade Jagger. Christa D’Souza visits her in Ibiza
It is a stiflingly hot morning in San Juan, a picturesque village in the hills of Ibiza, and I am sitting in a local cafe, waiting for the island’s most famous resident, Jade Jagger, to pitch up. We have arranged to meet here because her house is almost impossible to find unless you have been there before. Knowing her reputation for tardiness, and knowing, too, that she was out clubbing with friends last night until at least three in the morning, I am fully prepared to be kept waiting. What a surprise, therefore, when she sashays in, car keys swinging, only half an hour late.
Garrard girl: Jade shows off some of her new jewellery collection
Looking fresh as a daisy in a fluorescent-green bathing costume, diamanté flip-flops and black leather hotpants, she folds her butterscotch limbs into a wicker chair and beckons one of the waiters over in fluent Spanish. Interestingly he pays her no attention whatsoever, and for a brief moment a flicker of irritation crosses her face. But it is gone in an instant. Apparently that’s just the way it is at this joint. And besides, part of the reason she moved out here in the first place was so that people would ignore her a bit more. In London she was getting sick and tired of being photographed everywhere she went. ‘It’s all right when I’m out on show and all va-va-voom done up,’ she shrugs, ‘but when I’m being followed walking around with my kids, it gets a little overbearing.’
Jagger, 32, is so like her father Mick in the flesh, with that plummy, glottal drawl and that ironic curling smile, it is almost uncanny. But her innate, almost feral grace, her seductive Latin manner and strange mixture of languor and trickiness seem more like her mother, Bianca.
But enough of her famous parentage for the moment. The primary reason I am out here for the next couple of days is to discuss Jagger’s new position as creative director of the Bond Street jewellery shop, Garrard. Plucked from Asprey, where she was one of several designers, by the companies’ overall chairman, Lawrence Stroll, to help rework the shop’s fuddy-duddy image, Jagger is now in charge of every creative aspect of the store, from the multi-million-pound ad campaign (in which she, along with Missy Elliott, Liberty Ross and her friend Rupert Everett, will appear), to the total refurbishment of the store, to giving pep talks to the staff (‘What I don’t want is someone going, sorry, can’t help you with diamonds, I’m in silver’), to actual designing.
And it’s not just jewellery she’s confined to. She and her design team (made up of Tamsin de Roemer, her partner at Jade Inc jewellery, a business she set up in 1997 which she has put on hold; Francesca Amfitheatrof, the jewellery designer who used to work for Chanel; and her old friend Koji Tatsuno, the avant-garde fashion designer) are also coming up with shoes, bags, couture dresses, dog leads, lollipops, even Garrard pants. In other words, welcome to the World of Jade Jagger. ‘Well why not?’ muses Jagger. ‘I mean, every time the papers call up to find out what I was wearing the night before, I’m always tempted to tell them who my knickers are by.’
The short drive up to Jagger’s 20-acre compound in the hills is spectacularly beautiful and almost deserted. The only traffic we meet on the way is a neighbour called Gisele, a pretty middle-aged woman with a flower in her hand, walking leisurely into town. Gisele is a clothes designer who lives on the island with no car, electricity or hot water – a lifestyle Jagger admires intensely but couldn’t maintain herself. ‘I tried doing the middle-of-nowhere thing,’ she says, ‘but in the end I went a little stir crazy. The nice thing about Ibiza is having all that craziness there – but not having to get too involved in it if I don’t want to.’
After about 10 minutes we hang a left down a dusty dirt track, and after 100 metres or so of dry, cactus-y terrain, come to a sprawling white- washed villa nestled into a hillside and trailed with hot-pink bougainvillaea. Far off in the distance the peacocks are caterwauling. Heralding Jagger’s arrival are her two Italian greyhounds, Louis and Lady, both wearing bejewelled Louis Vuitton dog collars. ‘You don’t mind dogs, do you?’ she asks, scooping up one of them and kissing it full on the mouth.
She then leads the way through the peppermint-green stone entrance hall into the main living area, a low-ceilinged room dominated by a large antique day bed, two Sixties-style swivel chairs and a very professional-looking mixing desk strewn with sleeveless records. Down a couple of stone steps through a narrow hallway is the TV room, a gleaming little white nook with fluorescent cushions scattered all over the wall-to-wall seating and a porthole window overlooking the mountains and the glittering sea beyond. Sprawled inside are her children, Amba, eight, and Assisi, 10, in their bikinis, quietly painting their toenails and flicking through the pages of Heat magazine. Lying next to them is a devastatingly good-looking man called Dan with emerald eyes and tawny blonde hair. Only much later do I find out that he and Jagger are lovers.
Further down is the kitchen, a large, light room with fluttery white muslin curtains and a table cluttered with rolling papers, mobile phones, magazines and Jagger’s jewellery sketches. It is abuzz with activity. There’s Fiona, Jagger’s studio manager at Garrard, on the phone to head office in London; Jodi, Jagger’s PA in Ibiza, on the phone to some Spanish builders; Carmen, the housekeeper, emptying watermelon seeds into one of three ecologically correct dustbins; and Serena, a redhead in a bikini top, who used to own the organic deli in Notting Hill with Sheherazade Goldsmith, preparing lunch. Seemingly unbothered by the happy chaos, Jagger pads in, wondering if anyone knows a good dentist in town; Dan, who bears a strong resemblance to Andy Warhol’s protege Joe Dallessandro, has a terrible toothache. After nosing around for some sunglasses (she’s already ruined three pairs of prescription-lens Ray-Bans by leaving them in the bottom of her handbag) and giving Amba, who has wandered in to get a drink, a big hug (‘Oh, sweetie, you look so pretty’), she suggests a little tour before we sit down to eat.
With dogs underfoot, we head for the green mosaic pool, which is bordered by four teetering palms and overlooks the sea. The area is littered with children’s toys, sun-tan lotion and crumpled sarongs… oh, and a recent issue of Hello!, which Jagger swoops upon immediately. ‘Ooh, look,’ she calls out in a wickedly accurate Texan drawl, ‘it’s Je-r-r-y!’, and then daintily picks her way down another dirt track to the Shack, a bamboo-covered cabana-cum-bar festooned with fairylights and Jade Inc jewellery. As she reaches inside a little silver fridge for some drinks, two bronzed, shirtless workmen in faded jeans and dusty boots shyly pass us by. ‘Ol‡, Pepe!’ Jagger calls out flirtatiously to one of them. And then to me, ‘God, what gorgeous staff I have. I just can’t understand people who have ugly people working for them, I really can’t. Just call me a pathetic aesthetic.’
Next stop is one of two guesthouses on the property. This, she explains, is where she plans to put up Calvin Klein, who will be arriving this Saturday with Bianca and the interior designer David Collins. ‘Actually, I’m a bit nervous about it,’ admits Jagger, deftly fishing an empty Coke can out of the villa’s cobalt-blue lap pool. ‘He’s a really good friend of my mum’s but he’s never been here, and I’m not sure what he’s going to make of it.’ She’s looking forward to seeing her mum, though, who is obviously thrilled about her new promotion. ‘She’s a superwoman,’ as Bianca tells me over the fax. Ditto Mick, who sends me an e-mail reading, ‘I love her jewellery, and in fact, I’m wearing two pieces of it right now.’
Jade Jezebel Sheena Jagger was born in LA in 1971, six months after her father and mother tied the knot in the city hall of St Tropez. As the daughter of one of the world’s most famous rock stars, her birth naturally made all the papers, as did Mick’s reaction to her: ‘She’s a fantastic kid, a lovely baby, very sweet and good-tempered,’ he said at the time. ‘Most babies seem to cry all the time, but mine doesn’t. Every time I look at her, she’s just gurgling and smiling away to herself.’
Mother and daughter: Bianca and Jade Jagger
Much of Jade’s early childhood was spent in airports and hotels and, of course, hanging out with her parents’ glamorous friends, among them Andy Warhol and Bianca’s Studio 54 pals. ‘I remember one Thanksgiving in the penthouse of Morgans hotel,’ recalls Ian Schrager, the club’s former co-proprietor, ‘Mick and Bianca were there, so was Steve Rubell [Studio 54’s other owner], who was almost like a godfather to Jade – and there was Jade vying for all this attention… even then.’
‘I was very lonely,’ shrugs Jagger matter-of- factly. ‘My mum and dad had these lives independent of mine. They had people to share those lives with them. Sometimes I felt there was no one to share my life with, except for the nanny. ’ The one thing she did appreciate was her freedom, and was therefore furious when her father, disturbed by her sophisticated New York ways, decided to pack her off to St Mary’s Calne, an all-girls boarding school in Wiltshire. ‘It was such a horrible culture shock. Here I was, this brash, savvy uptown girl who loved hip hop and hung out in Central Park, going to this strict boarding school where you weren’t supposed to wear white socks because that’s what the yobs in town wore. I mean, I came from a culture where trainers and white socks were what you were supposed to wear!
‘It was incredibly racist, too,’ she goes on, a slight vindictiveness in her tone. ‘I mean, they may not have actually realised it, but there were no black or half-caste girls there, which to me, coming from a mixed-race school, was really strange.’ What outraged her beyond words, however, was when she was expelled, accused of sneaking out after lights to see her then boyfriend, Josh Astor, son of the disgraced Tory peer Lord Kagan. ‘I mean, OK, yes, I had gone out, but I went back in again before bedtime!’
It was on an art course in Florence when she was 16 that she met and fell in love with the father of her two children, Piers Jackson. For years Jagger was the perfect earth mother, breastfeeding both her babies for ages (to this day she criticises her mother for bottle-feeding her), painting, cooking stews on the Aga and taking long holidays in Goa. But after eight years she and Jackson, a painter, began to grow apart and in 1996, when she was 27, they split up, Jagger, suddenly finding herself a single mother.
After a short relationship with another painter, Euan McDonald, with whom she started up Jade Inc, Jagger met Dan Macmillan, Harold Macmillan’s great-grandson and heir to the £770 million publishing fortune. Along with Macmillan’s ex-girlfriend, Kate Moss, and the fashion designer Matthew Williamson, Jagger became a member of the hippest gang in London.
‘That phase with Dan was probably the wildest I’ve ever been,’ says Jagger thoughtfully, as we make our way up the hill to lunch. But she will not say any more about him. Her relationship with Dan Williams, a London-born musician – or ‘Dan two’, as she nicknames him – is totally different because he lives in Ibiza and doesn’t seem remotely interested in being in the limelight. Of course, being linked with the daughter of Mick Jagger, he cannot escape it completely. Earlier this year, for example, a rather compromising picture of them on the beach was published in the tabloids, which was bad enough. But then they went and mistook him for Ben Elliot, the debonair nephew of Camilla Parker Bowles, and another of Jagger’s former boyfriends.
‘I really learnt my lesson over that,’ she says. ‘I mean, we were hiding behind this rock at this secluded beach, and they were obviously out looking for us, but ever since then I know I cannot take my clothes off anywhere outside my house. Actually, even when I’m at my house, I might think twice about walking around nude now.’
Lunch, which is served on the terrace, is a veritable feast: two large legs of organic lamb, studded with rosemary picked from the vegetable garden, a huge bowl of risotto and layers of bright red peppers marinaded in anchovies. Jagger, an enthusiastic carnivore who used to slaughter her own chickens (‘but I had to stop because the kids were such a pain in the arse about it,’ she chuckles), teases the vegetarians at the table mercilessly. ‘I mean, where does it all end?’ she says, gnawing lustily on a piece of gristle. ‘Like, I was getting photographed the other day and picked out this dress by McQueen with feathers on it, and the woman refused to take my picture in it! I mean, I’m sorry, I can’t get with that programme.’
Daddy's girl: Mick and Jade Jagger
After lunch everyone slopes off to the pool for a siesta, but Jagger has to do some work. Fiona needs her to look over some of the team’s designs, including a pair of intricately beaded jeans, a pair of saucy gold-chained knickers with a replaceable gusset, and a huge blue man’s diamond ring, both still in sketch form. Jagger is not quite sure where her inspiration for designing precious jewellery came from, but thinks Andy Warhol might have had something to do with it. ‘When I was a little girl he gave me a packet of diamond dust to play with – maybe that influenced me. I am a Libran, and we are meant to love beautiful things.’ There is also a leather washbag which has just come back from the factory, and which might, as Fiona diplomatically puts it, need a little work on it.
Jagger, who is now sprawled out on the day bed, stroking Louis, looks at the offending item as if it smells. ‘Hmmm, gorgeous,’ she says sarcastically, then leaps up, runs to her bedroom and returns with an exquisite little gold leather scaled purse (old Jade Inc stock), shaped to look like a snake. ‘See,’ she says, undoing the zip, ‘I can ram tons of stuff into it. That’s what we should be doing.’ Fiona also needs her to look over the list of proposed guests for the sit-down dinner for 300 that Garrard is throwing next month at the Tower of London.
Watching Jagger conduct business, it is very tempting to wonder if Garrard hasn’t taken a huge punt on hiring her for the job. To ask that obvious and rather unfair question – if she wasn’t who she was, would she have been offered it? ‘Yeah, I know what people think,’ she says, her languid manner belying an understandable defensiveness, ‘It’s like even my friends were going, fucking hippie – what does she think she’s doing with all those diamonds? But that whole lazy W11 girl tag is actually so off the mark. In fact, I’m a real pragmatist, and I’m incredibly disciplined, too, thanks to having that work ethic drummed into me by my father. I think you’ll find that with the children of very famous people. They have to try harder.
‘It’s like everyone goes on about the huge house my father bought me in Notting Hill… Well it was a flat. I don’t live in Notting Hill, actually, I live in Kensal Rise. Anyway, I can’t bear Notting Hill any more. In fact, I haven’t been to Portobello Road for ages. OK, I’ll shop in Fresh’n’Wild because the food is so great, but when I was there the other day, I saw Sophie Dahl and Tim Jeffries sitting outside. Can you imagine? It’s just getting ridiculous round there. Although I suppose these people have got to go somewhere, haven’t they…’
It is now about 9pm, we are on our way to dinner in a convoy of cars. The DVD player in Jagger’s Black BMW jeep is cranked up loud and everyone – still slightly hung over from last night – stonily head-bobs to Nelly. ‘I am gettin’ so hot, I wanna take my clothes off.’
A black-and-white poster of Mick Jagger, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh greets us at the entrance of the outdoor restaurant, and as Jagger leads the way to our table in the back a respectful silence falls. There are 12 of us now (including Dan, Jagger’s daughters, Jodi, a publicist from Arista and her twin brother, Jaren, a florist called Hayley, Will and Susie – a couple from London – with their two-year-old daughter Minnie), and as we all sit down at the long candlelit table Jagger’s face visibly softens. ‘See,’ she smiles contentedly, ‘this is what I call my family.’
Red wine and sizzling steak – the restaurant’s speciality – are brought to the table, and the conversation, spearheaded up our end by Jagger, flows. It runs the gamut from childbirth (Jagger tells how she had both babies at home without any pain relief, and how her sister Karis, Mick’s daughter by the actress Marsha Hunt, cut the umbilical cord of one of them) to diets (‘I once went on this detox, and in the end I felt so rough I had to come off it’), to cleaning ladies (Jagger is worried about the new girl she has just hired – ‘I mean, how on earth is a 25-year-old hippie going to know how Calvin Klein likes his sheets folded?) to what it’s like to be famous.
‘I think people go almost psychotic living their lives out in public,’ she declares. ‘It’s like I have so much respect for both my parents. I mean, my father came and stayed out here recently and we all went out to dinner and it was just one person after another bugging him about this or that. I was getting really, really irritated, but he stayed completely calm. It’s amazing – he never loses that. He’s always fresh and enthusiastic, never tired or surly. I just find that so… I don’t know… enlightening. I mean, if he wants to be with Sophie Dahl or whoever, he must know what he’s getting himself into, right? I just have total respect for what people want to do. That’s their business. Whoever my dad wants to be with that’s fine in the same way. I wouldn’t expect him to start telling me who I can and can’t be with.’
By the end of the evening Amba and Assisi are asleep, Amba with her head nestled in Jagger’s lap – ‘God, I know that feeling of being tired at a restaurant,’ she says, stroking her daughter’s head. ‘The difference between me and my mother is that she’d always make me stay up while I’m usually scurrying round, trying to make camp beds out of two chairs.’
The following morning she seems in slightly less good humour as she stalks into the kitchen, naked except for a tiny pair of blue shorts and a towel around her head. Dumping a large plastic bag full of leftover steak on the counter, she wonders aloud whether someone could tell Carmen to give it to the dogs, then sits down at the table, flicking through some papers from the office. A familiar look of irritation crosses her face as she is told by Fiona that the fax machine is acting up. Fiona then jokingly wonders if that’s her white Hanro vest she’s about to put on, but Jagger stares at her coldly, wondering where on earth she got that idea from. ‘Like you have dibs on every white Hanro vest in the house?’
In other words, laidback and non-hierarchical as the World of Jade Jagger might seem, as unbothered as she is about, say, the occasional ant in the kitchen or puppy poo in the hallway, Jagger is actually quite intimidating. As a former St Mary’s Calne pupil whom I talked to recalls, ‘When Jade first arrived at school she was so terrifyingly cool, nobody dared talk to her. And when you did talk to her, she always made one feel rather uncomfortable. But there was something kind of sexual about her, too. Underneath, I think we were all madly in love with her.’ And that, in my opinion, sums up Jade Jagger perfectly.