JVB Icons | Grace Jones
The Icons series is a weekly shop-the-look feature highlighting iconic women whose style captures a certain sensibility and sets them apart from the status quo, no matter the era, socio-political climate, or popular culture of their time, or ours. Muses— if you will— whose timeless aesthetic causes inspiration season after season.
To call Grace Jones iconic would be an understatement. On the 40th anniversary of her 1979 “Muse” album, we take a look at the woman, the artist, the trailblazer, and her visionary look along with some of her best quotes. Grace is known for her arresting physical energy, subversive stage presence and a rebellious style that continues to exude a powerful, demanding yet sensual cool. Her signature Afrofuturist look is immediately recognizable and holds within it a mythology of art, music, fashion, gender and culture that spans her career of over fifty years.
Grace Jones the icon began to take shape when the Jamaican-born Wilhelmina model shaved her head in an act of self-definition in 1960’s New York. She went on to move to Paris for a time in the 70’s, working with Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appeared on the covers of Elle and Vogue. Photographed by the likes of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer. Grace most famously collaborated with Jean-Paul Goude, both professionally and personally. Goude shaped her androgynous, architectural aesthetic and helped identify the bold makeup that accentuated her striking features with bright, deep colors magnifying her sharp cheekbones and strong jaw. According to Jake Hall of i-D, "their collaborative work [went on] to define the visual landscape of the 70s and 80s," and "the artist helped create one of the most intriguing legends in musical history."
Jones’ ties to the New York art and disco scenes in the 70s and 80s were a great influence on her music and wardrobe. Running in the inner circles of Andy Warhol’s Garage and Studio 54, she was crowned the “Queen of disco” and became known to deliver gender blurring looks with strong shoulders, structural cuts, and rockstar accents whether on the runway, on stage, or out in public. Here was, and is a woman who unapologetically remained true to herself and championed self love and self empowerment in her sartorial and career choices.
Throughout the ensuing decades, Grace Jones continued to push, break, and redefine genres and boundaries both in her music and in the beauty and fashion worlds, becoming the third woman of color to appear in the 007 films, depicting a fierce bodysuit-clad Bond girl in “A View to Kill”, and a vampire-stripper with wild style in “Vamp”, in which artist Keith Haring did her body paint for a scene. I last saw her perform at Afropunk in 2015, body painted in a recreation of the “Vamp” Keith Haring look, while hula-hooping flawlessly during the her performance of “Slave to the Rhythm.” Needless to say, Jones continues to strike inspiration with the same fire that fueled her meteoric rise to iconic fame. Shop our favorite, wearable Grace Jones looks below.
The look: Sensuality stands at the bar