Every artist looks for inspiration and can only hope that, once found, that inspiration will feed them, not only for a day, but for years to come. Grace Jones has provided the creative fodder for the many hungry bellies of artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Paul Goude, Helmut Newton, Madonna, Santogold, and me. Grace Jones is my muse because she is not only THE Diva – but at age 64, she is also a pop ICON.

 

Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, to a very religious family, she joined her parents in Syracuse, New York at age 13 and decided soon after she needed to break free of her conservative family binds. She subsequently went on to become a very successful model gracing the cover of Vogue, rooming with friends Jessica Lange and Jerry Hall while in Paris, and later evolved to also be regarded as a celebrated actress and chart topping singer.

 

Her acting credits include the 1984 film, Conan the Destroyer, with Arnold Schwarzenegger; the 1986 James Bond movie, A View to a Kill, opposite Roger Moore; and the 1992 movie, Boomerang, opposite Eddie Murphy. She’s not easily forgotten in any of these roles and though her movies overshadowed her musical output in the United States, her status as a recording artist in Europe is untouchable. If you’re over 30, you should remember “Pull Up to My Bumper” or “My Jamaican Guy” – both provocative for their time. She has an impressive musical resume: 10 studio albums, 40 singles and four worldwide number ones. Did I mention her voice spans two and a half octaves?

All this and you’re still wondering why she’s my muse? HAVE YOU SEEN HER? Stunning is an understatement, but more importantly, she is an original. “…I don’t like people who hide things. We’re not perfect, we all have things that people might not like to see, and I like to show my faults.” Her confidence allowed her to sport the high-top fade a decade before the look became popular among black men in the 1980’s. Lady Gaga has copied more than a few of her looks. “Well, you know, I’ve seen some things she’s worn that I’ve worn, and that does kind of piss me off.” I admire her for her insatiable need to push the envelope. Her style is all strength, all feminine, and no apology – everything I hope to embody in my collections.

Grace was trained in the theater so it’s no wonder her stage performances are over the top. In 2008 she brought down the house at Massive Attack’s Meltdown concert. One reporter wrote “It was quite the hottest ticket this year: and Grace didn’t disappoint, stalking the stage … throwing herself into the audience, growling and yowling, unleashing a voice while shaking her tush …” Did I mention she was 61 at that time. GO GURL! Or should I say gwaan gyal?!

Above all, Grace credits who she is and how far she’s come, to where she’s from. She’s a Caribbean woman through and through – strong, fierce and feisty. Be sure to look out for the Sophie Fiennes documentary on Ms. Jones and for my collection this spring inspired by her. ‘Til then…

 

References:

^“Grace Jones Documentary on the way.” (http://www.nme.com/news/grace-
jones/40977) www.nme.com.

^”This is So On: Grace Jones vs. Lady Gaga” (http://www.vanityfair.com/online/
daily/2010/04/this-is-so-on-grace-jones-vs-lady-gaga) www.vanityfair.com

^Miranda Sawyer (11 October 2008), ”The World of Grace Jones” (http://
www.theworldofgracejones.com/) www.theworldofgracejones.com

^”The State of Grace” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/oct/12/grace-
jones-hurricane) www.guardian.co.uk

^”10 Things You Never Knew About…Grace Jones” (http://www.clashmusic.com/
feature/10-things-you-never-knew-about-grace-jones) www.clashmusic.com

^Simon Hattenstone (17 April 2010), “Grace Jones: ‘God I’m scary. I’m scaring
myself-Music-The Guardian” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/apr/17/
grace-jones-interview). The Guardian (UK)

^”Grace Jones” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Jones) www.wikipedia.org

^”Grace Jones” (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005063/) www.imbd.com

^”Meltdown: Amazing Grace” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/
2008/jun/20/meltdownamazinggrace) www.guardian.co.uk

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