The Grand Hotel in Paris has been a nexus of opulence from Napoleonic times right through the circus of the Balmain Fall 2011 show, held here and attended by Kanye West, just hours prior. Yet it’s where we encountered Georgia May Jagger—at ease and barefoot in jeans and a vintage T-shirt she has owned since age 12—to discuss her new role as the face and design collaborator of Hudson Jeans. There are a half-dozen hip Paris hotels you’d sooner expect a Chanel model/rock royal/denim designer to crash, but classic luxury is Jagger’s element.
Fresh off a shoot for French magazine Jalouse, she is prepping for her next appearance, a party at Montaigne Market to launch her capsule collection for Hudson. Signing on with the label was a career defining moment for the budding designer. Together with Hudson’s head designer and creative director Ben Taverniti, her eponymous line of five styles in black, white, gray and blue washes, with a skinny leg and a mid-rise, launches at Neiman Marcus next week. The styles are named for members of her famous family.
NM: What made you choose denim as a first design project?
GMJ: I don’t think I chose it – it chose me. I have been the face of Hudson jean campaign for three seasons and I talked a lot about jeans of course with Ben, who is the head designer and creative director, when I was shooting the campaign. The collection evolved from these conversations. I pulled a lot of the inspiration from my personal clothing – I love vintage clothes, my mum’s closet and things my friends wear. The jeans really reflect my own personal style. I met with the team and Ben in New York and California, and really looked closely at different washes, spoke to the people in the factories who sew the jeans, and of course was really involved in the ad campaign. I always felt part of the creative process.
NM: Your personal style seems to be a mix of rocker and couture? Did you set out to design jeans that suit you personally or did you have another approach to the design?
GMJ: I like to have fun and I don’t take fashion too seriously. I have eclectic tastes for bright colors and vintage things, which I pick up on my travels, and I wear jeans a lot. I think they are the essential piece of anyone’s wardrobe. They’re great for travel, for work, for going out. I love to pair them with a jacket, vintage t-shirts, great tops. I’m pairing them with a Gucci bustier tonight for the launch at Montaigne Market.
NM: Your sister Jade is a designer, did she have any advice for you?
GMJ: It all happened kind of organically but I do go to members of my family for advice – especially my mum [Jerry Hall]. Apart from her modeling career she did once design a collection of underwear and night gowns, so she has had quite a bit of experience.
NM: Did your modeling experience help shape you as a designer?
GMJ: It made me aware of how clothes fit and how important fit is, especially with jeans. I really tried to come up with something for every age group and body type. I worked hard on the fabric. The denim is thicker and has quite a lot of stretch in it, and I wanted to create a mid-rise jean that was flattering for most people. I found a pair of Wrangler jeans that my mum used to wear in the 70s – they were men’s jeans designed for cowboys – that had a mid-rise and were a little flatter on the bum. This was the inspiration for the line.
NM: What are your major influences – can we assume music is one of them?
GMJ: I also like photography and art and always have my camera on me. As I said before, I love to scour vintage shops. I found a picture of Slash from Guns ‘n Roses wearing a pair of leather pants which laced up the sides – this was the inspiration for my black side laced jeans. I really wanted to create something that fitted like a jean but had that leather-pant look to it. In general I really like skinny jeans, and they need to fit tighter on the ankle. It’s a little bit of an Eighties feel, especially with the mid-rise.
NM: What’s next for you? Will you continue to design and model?
GMJ: I have already started with ideas for the next season. It’s like a dream come true, especially seeing other people wearing my designs. Jeans are such a personal thing and it had always been really hard for me to find some that fit right in certain places.
NM: Do you have any style advice about wearing jeans?
GMJ: It really depends on your style. I am not a big fan of faded jeans with that stripe across the thigh which makes your legs look thick. I don’t really like distressed jeans unless it’s the real thing, you know, a pair that you have had for ages. I also think in general jeans are a staple. They don’t go out of style. You can wear them to a fancy restaurant, travelling or very casual. It depends on what you pair them with. I like to add heels or high heeled boots and a great tailored jacket or a leather jacket. I don’t like to wear shirts which are too long, so I am always searching for that perfect shirt to pair with the jeans – it’s not as easy as you’d think. I have learned to appreciate a fancy top, something corseted like my Gucci top that I am wearing tonight.
Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills welcomes Georgia May Jagger and Hudson Jeans’ Ben Taverniti on March 17, 6-8 p.m.