Rock and roll is FASHION.
Think of Creem Magazine's "Eleganza" column if you will. My first oasis of hipness was found in those pages, that column. When I think of style and rock and roll, of course it's players and their brilliant style come to mind, but so do many of the beautiful women/muses that surrounded the bands. Narrowed down to two, Anita Pallenberg and Loulou de la Falaise are my inspirations. Beauty queens, rebels, fashionistas (before the word was invented), these women to me, as archetypes are pirates. No surprise that they are both designers for the hip and chic today.
As muses to some of the most brilliant artists and rock and rollers of our time, Yves St. Laurent, Brian Jones, and Keith Richards, these women's inspiration not only worked on these men who influenced, and continue to influence, style around the globe, but to rock and roll, and the rock and roll "consumer". They can be credited, with many others of course, by making rock and roll valuable as a fashion experience not just an aural one.
As a young girl, "Eleganza", Vogue, and the bands I loved had a huge impact on my manner of dress... much to my mother's chagrin, especially when punk arrived. Somehow I knew rock and fashion were going to be a part of my life for a very long time - both are still of huge focus in my world. To those who scoff and write the fashion and rock connection off, stop reading now, as what I'm writing is gonna bug you about as bad as the sole of your Chuck Taylor's coming apart. Perhaps the fashion piece makes you feel like a bit of a poseur, but Jimi's boa never bothered me - in fact I own one and wear it often during the winter months... those feathers are warm as toast!
I digress, so let's get back on topic, first, Loulou. Loulou de la Falaise, the muse to celebrated Parisian designer Yves St. Laurent for over three decades, was born into the world of high fashion. Think of what Edie was to Andy, just less tragic. Famous, among other things, for the 1966 Le Smoking, a smoking hot female tux, and sexy see through blouses, she and St. Laurent collaborated on style until his death. Now the proprietor of Masion de Loulou on Paris' Left Bank, her boutique full of fantasy and whimsy caters to the chic, while a less expensive line of Loulou gear can be found at boutiques in London's West End. It's not a shock to me that her off beat, sensational accessories and clothing are not more prominent in America, but we are known for being less edgy than Europeans. Needless to say, she's iconic for me as an independent woman who uses the right side of her brain to create beautiful things to make us all feel more beautiful, while using feminine energy and influence to inspire the creativity of other artists. Though very colorful in her designs, she says, "One should look fierce in black; it has to be a bit violent, otherwise there’s not much point." Okay goths, there you have it! And it's only rock and roll but we like it, her brother's daughter, Lucie, is married to Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg's son Marlon.
Now for Anita. The fabulous Anita Pallenberg. Actress, model, muse, designer, mother... and that's what came to mind in a nano-second. The face of swinging London as far as I'm concerned. Her bob, her bod, the boots, the coats, the dresses... the hats! A designer's fantasy, and she was. While gaining fame for being Brian Jones' girlfriend, Keith Richards' common-law wife, Mick's tête-à-tête, she came into the rock scene with her own pedigree, a model, actress (Barbarella, Performance, Dillinger is Dead), part of Andy Warhol's Factory. Anita Pallenberg to me is rock and roll fashion personified. Pulled it off all the way. Thin, tall, amazing eyes, her form was perfect for the 1960's styles. She is credited for influencing the Stones' look via Brian Jones and I believe it. I saw a photo of her recently with a "Kill All Hippies" sweatshirt on with the big "Anita" smile. How very ironic. Empress of Drama? Maybe. Style Queen? No doubt. The thing that sticks out to me the most about Ms. Pallenberg is that she survived. And thrived. Today she's a designer and an artist, as well as a "pop-in" dj. She still has the inherent "it".
These women are just two.
When I put an outfit together, I often think of them. And rock and roll. It's timeless, fashion and rock, a beautiful marriage. One that I haven't grown out of. I no longer shred my jeans, a la Ramones or dye my hair purple, but I still keep my roots firmly footed in the rock/fashion world. Still to my mother's dismay.