– by Ieshia McDonald
Grace Jones’ hair story is as aggressively fluid as her personality. You can’t guess what she’s going to do next or what her presence may bring to a social appearance. From humble beginnings in Spanish Town, Jamaica to superstardom in the ‘80s, she is a reoccurring metaphor used to describe extremity and self-expression. This is her hair story.
early modeling career
At the age of 18 Jones was signed to Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. A few years later she relocated to Paris, where world-renowned designers, such as Yves St. Laurent and Claude Montana, embraced her dark skin and androgynous face. At this time, Jones traded her perfectly pressed coils for a short-tapered fade. She appeared in several magazines, such as Elle and Vogue, with softer makeup, a short haircut and on occasion, a wig.
In the 1980s Jones’ acting career took off. She appeared in Conan the Destroyer (1984) as Amazonian character Zula alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. A year later she starred in James Bond flick A View to a Kill (1985) as villain May Day. As her mainstream notoriety began to grow, so did her sense of style. She amped up her masculine appeal by cutting her hair into the famous high-top fade that played on her androgynous appeal.
In an interview on the Regis and Kathie Lee Show, Jones describes the feeling of cutting her hair: “It’s almost like a sacred thing. It’s something that one really never does, and so when you do it, it’s so—I feel like a nun.”
Her new ‘do would go on to make headlines and inspire other ‘80s style icons, such as singer, Boy George and fashion editor, André Leon Talley. Her style at this time dripped of ‘80s nightclubs, with extraterrestrial-inspired makeup and loud accessories. At this time she also experimented with many head wraps and hats, complimenting her striking bone structure and always-bold lip color.
Jones’ music was a more consistent part of her career. Although, her music videos were never predictable and her appearances surrounding the release of her albums were often controversial, the content and style of her music pretty much stayed the same. Her most known records include, “Pull Up to the Bumper” (1981), “My Jamaican Guy” (1985) and “Slave to the Rhythm” (1985).
It wouldn’t be until Jones linked up with French photographer, Jean-Paul Goude, that her look would be dramatized. It was Goude who would encourage Jones’ cropped haircut and extreme makeup. And although Jones had a few hits on her hands, it was her album artwork that really recieved the most buzz. These album covers show Jones sporting an asymmetrical high-top fade or a tapered fade cut.
The artwork of her album Island Life (1985), with Jones wearing a closely shaven cut, taken by Goude, would become an iconic photograph recreated by many fashion photographers.
grace jones today
Jones released her latest album, Hurricane, back in 2008; it was the comeback her fans had been waiting for since 1989. In her album artwork she sports a bald head topped with a silver top hat, reminiscent of a disco ball.
Jones’ style transcended the time of her peak success and lives today through artists, such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna. She stomped on the fashion industry to make way for darker-complexioned models, like Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek, forever-impacting the fashion industry. She is truly an inspiring rebel.
In a 2008 interview with Mail Online, Jones describes her ever-changing yet ever-consistent style: “I do change roles in life, I live that way. I go feminine, I go masculine. I am both, actually. I think the male side is a bit stronger in me and I have to tone it down sometimes. I’m not like a normal woman, that’s for sure.”
Sources: DailyMail, VMagazine, Wikipedia, IWantCrayons, VOD