There’s a dogged virtue within Mick Jagger that has always insisted the Stones roll forward. As each new anniversary of an historic album comes around, his aversion to dwell on the past means limited opportunities to look back, for us as well as him. “People have this obsession,” he once said. “They want you to be like you were in 1969. They want you to, because otherwise their youth goes with you… It’s very selfish, but understandable.”
Retrospective insights from The World’s Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band, therefore, have been meticulously managed – Crossfire Hurricane, the 2012 documentary produced by the group and directed by Brett Morgen, condensed the story of their first 20 years into just two hours. That would have sufficed for 1969 alone, let alone the other 19. Footage of their earliest performances; the maddening drug arrests of 1967; reflections on Brian Jones’ mental and physical decline and ultimate death; the horrific and tragic events of Altamont; the heights of debauchery that fuelled sessions for ‘Exile On Main Street’ in the South Of France; Keith Richards’ battle with heroin… All were teased with tantalising glimpses of previously unseen footage, plucked and dusted down from the Stones’ vaults, then swiftly returned, fated to remain there until Mick next decrees.
Which makes the prospect of EXHIBITIONISM – a large, immersive exhibition in London’s Saatchi Gallery that collects 50 years’ worth of artefacts from the band’s personal archives - all the more enticing.
The first ever major presentation of the Stones, EXHIBITIONISM follows in the footsteps of the V&A’s mightily impressive David Bowie Is… exhibit, allowing unprecedented access to rare audio and visual clips, vintage merchandise, guitars and other instruments, original artworks and iconic costumes, in a comprehensive and personalised multi-sensory journey through the decades.
As the doors swing open, Clash invites you to take a closer look at a selection of outfits handpicked from Mick’s wardrobe donations. Besides being the focus of individual moments in music history, each piece underlines Jagger’s and the Stones’ lasting association with fashion: included here are works by Alexander McQueen, Ossie Clark, Antony Price and, of course, the late L’Wren Scott.
Without any further ado, let’s delve between the buttons…
Mick Jagger was in a relationship with womenswear designer L’Wren Scott from 2001 until her death in 2014. The pair would collaborate frequently on his stage costumes, including this padded swirl jacket, which was created for the band’s 50th anniversary GRRR tour in 2012, and most notably worn at its climax in Hyde Park – their first performance there since a free concert in 1969, two days after the death of original guitarist, Brian Jones. In 1997, the same year he provided David Bowie with his iconic long leather Union Jack coat, the late Alexander McQueen - then considered the enfant terrible of British fashion – produced this sequin coat with faces for Jagger, and was worn on that year’s Bridges To Babylon Tour.
Made by the Moss Brothers in London, Jagger bought this Red Grenadier guardsman military drummer jacket from the legendary yet short-lived Portobello Road boutique, I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, in 1966. It was seen in black and white when the band performed three songs - ‘I Am Waiting’, ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘Paint It Black’ - on UK TV show Ready Steady Go on May 27th of that year.
Considered the man who styled the ’70s, Anthony Price - who’d later famously design for Roxy Music and Duran Duran - was first commissioned by Jagger in 1969, resulting in the side-buttoning, snake-hip flared trousers as seen in the Gimme Shelter movie. Thirteen years later, Mick modeled these red and white stretch pants and crop top on tour for ‘Tattoo You’.
Ossie Clark is perhaps the definitive designer of the ’60s. Dubbed ‘The King of Kings Road’, his flamboyant works bridged that decade’s geometric fashions with the flowing futurism of the ’70s. Clark pioneered rock and roll jumpsuits especially for Jagger to wear on tour (“His road manager loved that,” Ossie once said, “because you could just chuck them in the washing machine after each show”) - this gold number was worn on the 1972 America tour for ‘Exile On Main Street’, which boasted Stevie Wonder as opening act.
- - -
Words: Simon Harper
Photography: Katherine Fawssett
EXHIBITIONISM is open now at the Saatchi Gallery in London and runs until September. Tickets are available from stonesexhibitionism.com