Timeless sex symbol? Certainly. Musical icon? Duh. But as The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger turns 80 today, the imprint left by his glam-rocker wardrobe is one of the clearest markers he has put on 21st century performers today.
His kick-flare jumpsuits, tunics and tight tailoring in the late sixties, seventies and beyond helped the menswear peacock revolution plume it’s feathers, and paved the way — with help from the likes of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix — to the fluro-pink boa explosion that is Harry Styles-effect today.
When Jagger made it to London 1961, leaving his home county of Kent, men’s style was shifting. Carnaby Street and the King’s Road were becoming the new epicentres of cool, and as the Stones gained traction, Jagger proved he was not afraid to go bold with his look, and put on a show. And what a firework display of androgyny and rebellion that show was.
Here are five iconic looks from the designers who helped carve his inimitable style…
The Stones in the Park, 1969
Hyde Park was choked by 250,000 fans on 5 July 1969, as the Stones put on a free festival and Jagger took a fashion risk that marked a chapter of the menswear style movement. Appearing on stage in a ‘poet’s blouse’, the singer hit headlines wearing a white tunic with billowing sleeves which had bows down the front and flounced into a skirt. As a tribute to guitarist Brian Jones, who died two days prior, he read Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Adonais to open. The Romantic look came second hand from the legendary Mr Fish boutique, made by designer Michael Fish who was himself seminal in the shift towards androgynous fashion at the time. He was also behind Jagger’s dress in the 1970 film Performance, and most famously made the gown David Bowie wore for the chaise longue-lying The Man Who Sold the World album cover, released in 1971.
The wedding suit, 1971
Call it smart-casual? Jagger’s Saint Tropez wedding outfit — a cream coloured, three-piece suit complete with extended lapels and shirt collar and worn with — shock! — scuffed up trainers, was a style home run, and holds a permanent spot on designer moodboards todays. Alongside Bianca, in her white, YSL suit, he looked laid-back with effortless flair. It was made by Jagger’s go-to Savile Row tailor House of Nutter, founded by the swanky, gay tailor Tommy Nutty and tailor Edward Sexton, who injected energy back into the stuffy world of bespoke suiting with signature Nutter nipped waists and extra-wide lapels. Sexton, who made the suit, owns an eponymous shop a few doors down from the original Nutters today.
Wembley Stadium, 1973
You’ve seen the sherbert-sweet jumpsuits Harry Styles has worn of late; at the Grammy Awards, Coachella and Love on Tour tour this year alone. Here’s the blueprint, courtesy of designer Ossie Clark. This nipple teasing, pearl white velour jumpsuit was worn at Wembley Stadiumin 1973, for example, came covered in transparent, crystal embellishments. Testament to its importance, the garment sold at auction for £20,000 in 2012. Writes fashion historian Judith Watt, author of Ossie Clark 1965-74, Clark dressed “Jagger in jumpsuits based on anatomical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.”
Bristol concert, 1982
King of the sexy-showman wardrobe from the seventies onwards was designer Antony Price, who frequently costumed Jagger for shows dating back to the Gimme Shelter tour of 1969. The crotch-centric, sporty three-quarter length slacks worn here for a concert in Bristol in 1982 are a Jagger x Price staple, and different colourways of the striped crotch design were worn at numerous points during the Stones’ European tour that year. An unhinged clash comes with the abstract printed bowling shirt and shell suit jacket Price’s pale blue bottoms are paired with. A coordinating look this was not.
Jagger had a love affair with designer L’Wren Scott — this time, it was not only about the clothes. The pair met in 2001, but the relationship ended tragically in 2014 with Scott’s unexpected death by suicide. Jagger wore a number of her garments, most recognisably the heavily embellished blazers, like the emerald green style he chose to headline Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in 2013. Today, the sartorial trailblazer shows no sign of toning it down; glitter tail coats and eccentric printed bomber jackets are de rigueur.
In the eighties, or in his 80s, Jagger knows how to dress for a crowd.
Click through the gallery above for more of Mick Jagger’s most memorable looks.