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Rolling Stones stick out their tongues at fashion

The legendary band's latest line of Rockware has lots of attitude but not much innovation.

November 05, 2002|Gina Piccalo | Times Staff Writer

The spry Mick Jagger strutted into the party with bandmates Charlie Watts, Ron Wood and an imposing British bodyguard in tow. It was Sunday night, day three of L.A.'s Fashion Week, and the band took the night off to debut its latest line of Rolling Stones Rockware with a tent party and fashion show in Beverly Hills.

The tent was crowded with self-conscious designers and a varied sampling of celebrities (Jewel, Farrah Fawcett, David LaChapelle). Jagger moved through the place like static electricity. Before the show, he was up and over the catwalk in a heartbeat, jogging from group to group, hugging people. Then he was reprimanding his bodyguard for manhandling the waiter as he tried to order a drink (cranberry over ice).

Soon, a series of willowy models appeared, many of them topless in G-strings, wearing the band's tongue and lips logo in the most unexpected places. Jagger and Wood jumped up and down, clapping at the young women like adolescents. "I was just vibing them up, you know, getting them going, " Jagger said later as he stood backstage surrounded by half-naked models. "I'm a good audience as well as a good performer."

The line -- designed with Jagger's help by the Andy Warhol Foundation, the high-end London lingerie company Agent Provocateur, trendy T-shirt label Buddhist Punk and L.A.-based rock 'n' roll lifestyle brand Chrome Hearts -- offered a creative take on the traditional concert merchandising deal. It also marks another successful use of fashion as marketing.

"It's a bit more involved than we've done before," said Jagger of this year's line. "It's very rock 'n' roll. It's hard. It's tough."

Much of the new collection of leather jackets, lingerie, jewelry and other accessories incorporating the logo wasn't especially innovative. But the rhinestone G-strings, safety-pinned T-shirts, animal prints and dangling chains were huge crowd pleasers. The show's Stones soundtrack, including "Shattered" and "Sympathy for the Devil," set an appropriately rebellious mood for the models, many of whom greeted the crowd with sneers.

Catwalk cameos by rock-progeny-about-town Jack Osbourne and his new best friend, Kimberly Stewart, drew loud cheers from the audience, who warmed up under the chilly tent by sipping generous mai-tais.

On the media line before the show, designers, film directors and actors tried to define the cultural significance of the Rolling Stones. Val Kilmer, who appeared to have just risen from a nap, mumbled several monosyllabic answers into a camera crew's microphone and moved on. "He's just full of sound bites," one man noted. Actress Natasha Henstridge remarked sagely that the new collection "is going to take 20 years off the Rolling Stones." Director Brett Ratner, who is developing a film with a Stones tour as backdrop, quipped: "It's all about the lips." But photographer David LaChapelle synthesized all these ideas: "The Rolling Stones were kind of like the epitome of cool."

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