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Topic: Chic Mick Return to archive
10-06-03 12:23 PM
steel driving hammer Chic Mick

What does a mega-famous, 60-year-old lead singer with a tiny waist wear onstage? Ian Parker follows Mick Jagger into the dressing room.

One afternoon last August, Mick Jagger stood in front of a full-length mirror in a windowless room in downtown Toronto, plucking at the cloth of a pair of narrow, black satin trousers that had been made for him by Hedi Slimane, the designer at Christian Dior Homme.

"They’re a bit, a bit — for want of a better word — feminine," Jagger said, assuming the over-enunciated, borderline-camp accent of a Soho drag queen.

Looking at the trousers from one angle and then another, he said: "They’re all right to wear for pictures and that. But I don’t like the way they fall." They fell straight.

Jagger in the flesh is incredibly slight. One fashion stylist who worked with him said he had "the hips of a Spanish waiter".

"If you use thin material, it doesn’t have a flow. It’s too flimsy," Jagger said. Then, with faux impatience that did not quite disguise real impatience, he said: "OK, what else?"

The Rolling Stones, in preparation for their current Licks world tour, had spent the American summer rehearsing five evenings a week in Toronto. On this particular day, Jagger was trying on a rack of stage outfits with the kind of fuss that marks a change of government in a small country. He had asked for his dressing room to be cleared of all but what he called "the minimum number of people" — this meant Jagger’s fashion stylist, Maryam Malakpour, myself and five others.

Malakpour, an Iranian-born woman in her early 30s, worked on the previous Stones tour in 1999, and has also styled Jagger in his solo career. For this tour, he wanted to commission pieces from Slimane at Dior, whom he had met socially. He had also been struck by the handsomely weathered T-shirts made by Buddhist Punk, a London company.

Malakpour had the task of calling these designers, adding ideas of her own, seeing the European menswear shows and then, in June, arranging a presentation and fitting session in Paris.

At strict 15-minute intervals during this first showing, in a fairy-tale scene that lacked only a small boy pointing an impudent finger, designers or their representatives laid out costumes for the approval of the newly knighted Sir Mick.

Jagger ordered 100 or so items, most of them versions of the latest collections, but made in stretchier fabrics or brighter colours or with extra crystals to catch the light. (A rock star has roughly the same fashion priorities as a six-year-old girl.)

The clothes had begun to arrive in Toronto, where, during this second fitting, Jagger had the manner of an easygoing but hurried customer being shown property by an estate agent. He was due at rehearsal any minute.

To change, he stepped into an adjoining bathroom, then reappeared, saying, "Is the neck too scooped?" or "We are as red as red!" or "It’s itchy, too itchy, very itchy, super-itchy".

He tried on a sleeveless Buddhist Punk T-shirt emblazoned with a variation of what Rolling Stones people call the "classic tongue" logo, and two Dior shirts studded with crystals that spelled out "Mick" on one and formed a tongue against a black background on the other. He tried on a pair of black leather Nikes, explaining he has the soles doctored so he can spin.

But, as Malakpour said: "In the end, it's all about the trousers." According to Jagger, the problem with stage trousers is that they need to have some give - allowing him to run around on stage like a teenager - but he wants them to be properly cut, not mere leggings.

"You're in them a lot, more than anything else," he said. "They've got to keep their shape. And the trouble is, stretch fabrics start to bag. Round your bum or wherever, it all starts bagging, and you're endlessly pinning."

He went into the bathroom and came back in a pair of loose, dark trousers by young German designer Dirk Schonberger. Turning from the mirror to Malakpour, Jagger said cautiously: "These are baggy enough to move about in. I might be able to wear them onstage. But they're a bit dull, aren't they? He could do other ones, in different colours apart from grey, he could do . . ."

"Exactly," she said. "Red."

"Blue. So it would be a bit more swishy."

Jagger has been dressing for the stage for 40 years. The band's first manager, Andrew Oldham, was a "clothes fanatic", Jagger said. "He loved clothes, and that's what managers did then - they dressed up the lads. One of his greatest pleasures was to take you to the tailor. We'd have our street clothes made and our stage clothes, and that was that."

In the '60s, Jagger wore suits and thin ties (briefly), then mod shirts and corduroy jackets, then scarves and devilish frills, and the Uncle Sam hat and the black "omega" T-shirt at Altamont, California. Later, the eyes of the fans were directed more towards the Jagger crotch, which was clothed in embroidered, unzipped Ossie Clark jumpsuits and tight-laced knee breeches during Jagger's sporty, gay-quarterback phase.

Throughout Jagger's career, one look has remained constant: the hard male core (tightly covered Nureyev abs and crotch) that is teasingly revealed beneath a layer or two of something more feminine. There are similarities between Jagger's recent stage costumes and, say, his celebrated outfit for the Hyde Park concert in 1969; a white "dress", as the newspapers called it, over white pants. (Jagger described it as "a funny, flouncy thing . . . sort of peasant blouse, gathered here". He pointed to his upper thigh.)

On the Licks tour, as before, Jagger is likely to take the stage in a three-quarter-length coat, then do a striptease during the first songs; later, he will leave and reappear in a more ornate coat, creating a moment of fashion drama. Malakpour and Jagger call this all-important piece a "fantasy coat".

One fantasy coat had been ordered from Dior; others were coming from Italian label Costume National, New York company Body Worship and Alexander McQueen.

Sliding into a long Hedi Slimane coat made of red satin, which had four lengths of fringe sewn horizontally into the lining, Jagger trumpeted "Da da da!" and then bent his elbows and waved his arms up and down in a familiar flapping dance. It was a gesture of due diligence, not exuberance. Jagger's coats all have extra material under the arms to make this kind of movement easier. "A gusset," Jagger said, savouring the word.

By now, he could hear Keith Richards singing Heart of Stone upstairs. He went to join the rehearsal. After he left, I passed Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones' drummer and a famously enthusiastic clothes horse, in the corridor. I told him I was writing about Jagger's stage clothes. "That will keep you busy for half an hour, that will," he said, feigning scorn.

Two weeks later, on the last day of rehearsals in Toronto, Jagger was with Malakpour in his dressing room, modelling his Body Worship fantasy coat. Constructed from a dozen pairs of shredded jeans, scraps of leather and silk printed with design motifs from previous tours, and featuring the new tour's logo - a Jeff Koons rendition of lips - the coat was a history of the Rolling Stones.

"We could put Miss Venezuela across the back," Jagger said, with a fractional movement of his eyebrow, referring to the patchwork complexity of his personal life and his former relationship with Vanessa Neumann. "Twelve pairs of jeans? Makes me sound fat."

Clothes were an integral part of his performing, Jagger said. "Part of the process of going onstage is to become a stage person. And even if I wore these trousers" - he had arrived at rehearsal in a T-shirt and Dirk Schonberger trousers - "on the day that I put them on for the stage they're stage trousers."

The only time Jagger performs without first dressing the part is when he is drawn into an impromptu guest duet. "My first worry is 'What am I wearing?' Say I go and see Lenny Kravitz or Sheryl Crow, there's always a great danger of them asking you. They may not. You never ask, 'Can I sing with you?' You wait until you're asked, and then if you're wearing the wrong thing you're in trouble. The clothes are important. Guitar players always think it's about what they play, you know. Lead singers have another attitude."

He looked in the mirror and asked Malakpour: "More crystals?"

"I would say, don't you think?"

"Yeah. A bit. Just a bit more sparkle."

- Telegraph Magazine


[Edited by steel driving hammer]
10-06-03 01:01 PM
Miss U. That's a great article, thanks! What was the date of the article?
[Edited by Miss U.]
10-06-03 03:19 PM
Monkey Woman The original article was published in September of 2002 in an American magazine, but it was reprinted in Australia in February 2003 when the Stones hit that country.

First posting on Rocks Off:
http://www.novogate.com/board/968/Archives/09-12-2002/114279-1.html

Back for Australia
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/02/04/1044318604742.html
10-07-03 01:44 AM
parmeda
quote:
steel driving hammer wrote:
He looked in the mirror and asked Malakpour: "More crystals?"

"I would say, don't you think?"

"Yeah. A bit. Just a bit more sparkle."


Mick...please come on a shopping spree with me.
We would have the MOST fun