Whether or not you follow the fashion industry, or even the world of entertainment as a whole, you’ve probably heard of a woman who goes by the name Grace Jones. She’s not only an incredible presence, but an actual, real life force of nature, of which many have come away from amazed by what they have learned. This 2010 guardian article is one such occasion where the author, as well as readers, were treated to a colorful and interesting look into one of fashion and entertainment’s biggest legends.
Three bottles of red wine, a platter of sushi and four dozen oysters are lined up waiting for her, but still there is no sign of Grace Jones. We’ve been warned. Jones keeps Jamaica time. She doesn’t appear in daylight. This is Graceland, and in Graceland only one person dictates the terms. Six pm turns into 7pm. We’re in a freezing, underground car park turned exhibition space. Seven pm turns into 8pm, and now the stories are coming thick and fast. There was the time Jones kept David Bailey waiting a whole day, or was it two? Eventually, she calls and her manager Brendan screams down the phone at her: “GET HERE NOW, YOU BITCH!” Eight pm turns into 9pm.
She once appeared during the day for Breakfast TV, her make-up artist Terry says. “She said, ‘Darling, you’re ruining my reputation, you know I’m a vampire.’ ” How did she look by day? “Quite surreal. Like she doesn’t really belong. She definitely belongs to the night.”
As a supermodel, pop star, Bond girl, artistic muse and artwork in herself, Jones is a one-off. Photographers and artists love working with her. Andy Warhol’s Grace Jones – all red lipstick, fierce flat-top and pink backdrop – is one of his last great portraits. Helmut Newton wrapped her in the arms of Dolf Lundgren to recreate Adam and Eve as a modern-day designer muscle couple. Keith Haring body-painted her into a parody Masai warrior. Perhaps most famously of all, Jean-Paul Goude shot her as a rippling racehorse – virtually naked, standing on one leg, bronzed and oiled, microphone in one hand, right leg raised at 90 degrees to meet her right arm – it is an astonishing image, albeit famously faked.
Now she is working with Chris Levine, another artist straddling sculpture and photography. In the corner of the room is a huge multicoloured image of Jones with her eyes shut. Stand at different distances and angles, and the image changes. This 3D photograph, made up of 30 images of Jones hit by lasers, has the wizardry of a hologram and the humanity of a classic portrait – Madame Tussauds meets Irving Penn.
Nine pm turns into 10pm. Shoots with Jones are always like this. And yet there is something about her. People are prepared to wait. Two years ago she made her first studio album in 19 years. One of the team talks about all the people she’s turned down as collaborators – including Lady Gaga. Not up to it, thinks Jones (of which more later).
At 10.03pm the doors burst open. A huge trunk is carried in. Then another. And another. Jones has brought her entire wardrobe – and then some. It turns out she stopped at her favourite Issey Miyake store on the way – they opened up specially so she could raid. “Finally!” she says, looking round the room as if we’re the ones who have kept her waiting all these hours.