18-Oct, 02:28

08:25, June 15 177 0

2017-06-15 08:25:04
On the Runway: Anita Pallenberg Changed How We All Dressed, Not Just Keith Richards

In the days since the news that Anita Pallenberg, the German-Italian actress and quintessential rock chick, had died at 75, much has been written about her contribution to music history — most notably her effect on the Rolling Stones. For three band members, she was something of a lifestyle catalyst (also, at least for two, a lover).

Less space has been devoted to her effect on fashion, even though she was not only an indelible part of the designer inspiration kit, but also practically created a genre of dressing still on view today.

She is credited with having influenced the Stones’ look — the low-slung pants and furs and feathers and floppy hats and jewelry that transformed them from a jacket-and-tie boy band into icons of decadent glam in the mid-1960s. But another way of thinking about it is that they filched her look. And they were not the only ones.

Keith Richards, with whom Ms. Pallenberg was involved for more than a decade and with whom she had three children, notes in his memoir, “Life,” “I started to become a fashion icon for wearing my old lady’s clothes.” Because he ultimately became more famous than she did, the look is associated with his glory years. But it belonged to her.

Kate Moss, the model whose personal style and penchant for dissolute musicians is chronicled with obsessive attention by the British news media, is often described as the heir to Marianne Faithfull, another Stones paramour/muse. But Ms. Moss’s look is derived more closely from Ms. Pallenberg’s, including the sweeping coats, the unbuttoned satin blouses and the romping-in-the-concrete-garden hippie frocks.

Stella McCartney and Bella Freud, among London’s coolest women designers, drawn to an irreverent power player who defied all expectations, used Ms. Pallenberg as a reference point and counted her as a friend. Ms. Freud even featured her in a short film in 2015, “Hideous Man,” directed by John Malkovich and starring Ms. Freud’s collection. Ms. Pallenberg walked Vivienne Westwood’s runway in 1998, and Pam Hogg’s in September in a gold lamé dress (and cane).

Hedi Slimane channeled her for his first YSL show. So, at different times for their own presentations, did Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui and Jeremy Scott. Topshop regularly revives her style. Rebecca Minkoff based her fall 2017 collection on Ms. Pallenberg and on the Stones’ cross-country tour of the United States.

But while Ms. Pallenberg received a degree in fashion and textile design in 1994 from Central St. Martins in London, she never worked as a designer herself, preferring to collaborate with a classmate, Robert Cary-Williams, on his collection, and flirting with a line of “burn” T-shirts (children’s T-shirts dip-dyed in tea and then burned with matches or incense).

She was a pioneer of so-called boho deluxe, mixing high boots and miniskirts and chain belts and new romantic blouses; animal print and paisley and florals; billowing sleeves and ribbed knits. She threw it all together with a just-rolled-out-of-bed/up-all-night air and dared anyone to comment. She mixed high and low and blended genres with magnetic abandon, and the result had its own gravitational pull.

Combined with her personal back story — of hedonism and drug addiction, of promise and destruction, of going down in flames and rising from the ashes, with famous men left wallowing in her wake — it created exactly the kind of aesthetic myth that designers find hard to resist. She wore clothes and gave them a story. That story resonated far beyond her life, and it still does today.

When the history of fashion is written, she should get her due.