Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Grace Jones' Warm Leatherette (1980)

"It started with a photo. Entitled Samurai Sissy, the stark black and white 1979 portrait by French artist and conceptualist Jean-Paul Goude depicted steel-cheekboned Amazonian black supermodel turned disco chanteuse Grace Jones wrapped in a dramatic padded-shouldered Issey Miyake creation. At the time Goude and Jones were both artistic and romantic collaborators (he’s the father of Jones’ only child, Paulo born in 1979. In fact Jones is pregnant with Paulo in Samurai Sissy). Sinister but sexy, the image is so powerful, androgynous and alluring it suggested a world of possibilities: Jones as a panther in human form. Black Marlene Dietrich. Female Bowie. Space-age Nefertiti. Dominatrix from outer space. In her 2015 autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, Jones herself describes it as ‘me as an ominous hard-eyed samurai filtered through something occult and African, the killer clown interrupting some mysterious ceremony.’ Chris Blackwell, head honcho of Island Records, had the photo enlarged and stuck to the wall of his deluxe Compass Point recording studio in the Bahamas, instructing his crack team of musicians, ‘Make a record that sounds like that looks.’"

A deluxe digitally re-mastered box set of Grace Jones’ 1980 stone-cold classic Warm Leatherette - the ultimate punk-disco hybrid - is out now. Read my full review for Loverboy Magazine here.

/ Fragment from Grace Jones' avant garde 1982 performance art /concert film A One Man Show. Why oh why has this essential art statement never been digitally remastered and reissued on DVD?! /

Further reading: I've blogged about The Jones Girl - one of my all-time favourite artists - a few times now:

Scene report from her 2010 Royal Albert Hall performance

Scene report from her November 2015 book-signing session at Waterstone's in Piccadilly

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