Patrick Wolf by Jeanette

Dazed Digital reunite two iconoclasts of the music and fashion world in an exclusive photoshoot and video

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With a flash of leather and bondage gear in the controversial S&M video for ‘Vulture’, the great pop chameleon Patrick Wolf seemingly magicked away the technicolour minstrel of his breakthrough LP ‘Magic Position’ emerging as a harder, more grown up individual that befitted the world-weary tones of his latest album, ‘The Bachelor’. The 14-song opus (with companion piece ‘The Conqueror’ due out next year) detailed the year of loneliness Wolf endured while attempting to be a pop star, and stands as an epic musical journey taking luminaries like Tilda Swinton, Alec Empire and Eliza Carthy along for the ride.

Since opening up his eponymous shop in a converted garage; James Jeanette, the former doyenne of Boombox has been putting his killer fashion instinct to good use, stocking the most exclusive and desirable one-offs and vintage pieces from some of London’s best and brightest designers. In an exclusive for Dazed Digital, he styles Wolf and himself in dark and dramatic looks from A/W 09, mixing Gareth Pugh with Katie Eary’s sinister military touches and James Long’s primal coats. The two old friends re-united at the shop to talk about the importance of dressing up and standing out to be counted.

Patrick Wolf: Bjork really changed my life, musically and if we’re talking about fashion and style, she’s someone who sought out new designers from St Martins. She was working with couture. But she was always not caring about glamour – always trying to distort it the whole time. Musically too, she was always working with the most extreme beatmakers of the time. She was a real extremist.
James Jeanette: When I was at school, there was no one around like her. I used to go to school with my hair in Kirby grips!
Patrick Wolf: Me too! When ‘Post’ came out, it came with a free plastic handbag and I used to wear it to school! So she was really inspiring for me. Without Bjork, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. She was one of my main inspirations behind making my first album and wanting to go out and give my music.

James Jeanette: I was always into older music. Bowie, Roxy Music. My parents had Stones records and through them I would find out about Marianne Faithfull.  Bowie was a big influence – how he was changing himself all the time. I was dressing up when I was 4 years old.
Patrick Wolf: We had a dressing up box with all my granny’s old cast-offs. Me and my sister would dress up in it.
James Jeanette: I didn’t have a dressing up box. I had my mom’s clothes – it was all quite shoulder paddy. Probably from Dorothy Perkins or something! It felt very glamorous to me. My nanna seemed like the most glamorous person to me when I was a kid. She lived in a high-rise but she would wear a little sequin scarf and she would look awesome.

Patrick Wolf: For me, dressing up is a chance to be yourself.  I don’t like this idea of theatricality or characters. To me, it was a way to become more like myself, to react against a mundane reality. It’s not even a rebellious statement, it’s just a chance to be myself. You always see the club kids but you never see the ones who are truly being themselves and have no other option but to look that way and to live in a certain unreality. That’s their unreality. I’m very protective of that world and I try to do it publicly in a pop way.
It’s about being honest with the way you look. The Quentin Crisp mentality where the way he dressed up was his armour against the world. All this to cause offence in other people by the way that he looked. It was a reaction. And when I was bullied at school, it just encouraged me more.
James Jeanette: Aberdeen, where I grew up, is quite a rough place. My school was near a prison! I look back on it now and I realize I didn’t give a fuck.
Patrick Wolf: It’s really interesting. I got sent to a school that was very encouraging and tolerant of you to be crazy. The moment I was in that situation, I became less glamorous, I became like a skater kid! I felt more like a boy. But when I was in the other extreme and getting called a faggot, I would come in platform shoes and makeup. That was reactionary but I just dressed how I wanted. But it’s not a straight or gay thing, dressing up. It’s for everyone. Even though I hate the word metrosexual, I love it when you meet straight guys who are into clothes.
James Jeanette: Even with football casuals, it’s almost like drag in a way, how much they are into particular clothes and a look.

Patrick Wolf: With Boombox, apart from you and say like 5% of people there, I didn’t see Boombox as a dress-up club. I was raised with Matthew Glamorre and Kash Point and that was a real ‘no effort, no entry’ kind of situation.
James Jeanette: When I was on the door of Boombox, I wasn’t picking out only certain people. It could have been anyone. It was like dress how you want really. Because it’s a different time now to the Eighties.
Patrick Wolf: The stories I hear about Taboo and Kinky Gerlinky, it was really hardcore. They would discriminate against people who didn’t look a certain way. I always thought it was quite fascist and it doesn’t need to be like that. A good tranny or a freak knows that to be yourself, you would not discriminate against other people. The best evolution would be to say, the whole world is my friend. I think those are the most beautiful kind of people.
James Jeanette: That’s what so amazing about my friend Pia who’s a transgendered. Sometimes she’ll dress up. Sometimes she’ll wear a fur coat and nothing underneath. She gets a lot of shit in the streets. But she could pop into some straight club in Leicester Square and come out with 10 friends.
Patrick Wolf: Which is a wonderful way to react against ignorance, by embracing it.

James Jeanette: Do you feel like you change your persona with each album?
Patrick Wolf: It’s not like it’s a conscious decision too much.  It’s not too premeditated. I think that it’s something that’s in everybody. There are some artists who don’t stay too honest to their evolution. A lot of people are forced by their managers and their record companies to stick to one genre and make a brand for themselves. But there are a few artists in the world like Bowie, Bjork and Madonna where we want them to change and expect them to change. So it’s a very natural thing. An album comes along every 2 years and I’m sure everybody in the world changes every 2 years as well. You change your hair, music you listen to. It’s just a natural thing.
With ‘The Magic Position’ it was quite an innocent look. But with ‘Vulture’ I was just being honest with my sexual identity. I thought sadomasochism, bondage was an interesting metaphor. It was also an expression of how I’ve lost my innocence as well. I did my first album at age 18. And now I’m 25. I don’t wanna be an innocent paedo-fantasy anymore. I wanna be a bit tougher.  I wanted to express my loss of innocence publicly.
I feel like I’ve explored 4 albums now that were very idiosyncratic and not thinking about hits. But now I’m 25 and I wanna be like how Nelly Furtado changed into an R&B star. I wanna be like Akon! I really want to streamline my music and really change. I have all these audiences around the world and I want to reap what I have sown. So I’m working with some big dance producers now. I’m gonna do the commercial dance thing next, not in a bad way but be a popstar. It’s gonna be interesting.

James Jeanette: You should do a dance track with Marianne Faithfull! Which brings me to Lady Gaga. I didn’t know much of her music but then I saw her at Glastonbury and she’s a great performer.
Patrick Wolf: Proper Las Vegas. She wipes the board with a lot of these new English female singers which I’m not too big a fan of, apart from La Roux. I saw Lady Gaga live at Dusty O nightclub and it was an amazing show. She reminds me of a rebirth of Klaus Nomi for the 2009 R&B market. I got 2 albums that I listen to for motivation on my ipod – that’s Fergie and Lady Gaga. She’s like my musical crystal meth! But I don’t engage with her like I do with Grace Jones. I’m playing Latitude Festival with Grace Jones and I’m gonna cover ‘Walking In The Rain.’ Grace Jones is still doing it for me. With her, Bjork and PJ Harvey, they push it on a visual level but underneath all of it, there’s a big beating heart. I can’t enjoy things without there being soul underneath it.

Patrick Wolf plays The London Palladium, November 15. Jeanette’s is open, 64-66 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP

Credits
Photography Patrick Lindblom
Film Dylan and Ben
 from Bogstandard
Styling James Jeanette
Music ‘Thickets’ by Patrick Wolf from The Bachelor

Produced by Kin Woo

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