Style Icon: Anita Pallenberg
Liz: When I was 23 I fell like a ton of bricks for the Rolling Stones, obsessively hunting down all their records (Tattoo You and earlier, anyway) and playing them ad infinitum in the little closet of a bedroom I lived in back then. And at work, when I should’ve been doing writerly-type things, I spent many hours skulking around online in search of beautiful pictures of the band from the 60s (the decade when all my then-favorite Stones records – Aftermath, Between the Buttons, Their Satanic Majesties Request – came out). That was probably the first time I ever set on eyes on Anita Pallenberg, and she really meant the world to me at a moment when I fretted that there were no more fabulously scary rock-and-roll dames left for me to discover and worship. I soon rented Performance and drooled all over Anita, completely taken with what Marianne Faithfull once dubbed her “evil glamour.”
But my main interest in Anita has everything to do with her role as muse to Brian Jones and unofficial stylist to the band at large. ‘Cause I’m quite sure that I couldn’t love the Stones maybe even half as much if it weren’t for the look, that thing that’s so flouncy and foppish but still supertuff. In fact, I can’t think of any other band where the style’s just as vital to me – if not more so, even – as the substance. I mean, “Under My Thumb” will never not be one of my favorite songs in the world, but what’s the fun of it when you’re not dreaming up Mick Jagger all done up like some delinquent dandy?
So, even though the laws of nature essentially forbid the existence of a girl Rolling Stone, I’m joining the ranks of those who’ve crowned Anita as the sixth band member. And it’s so fun to dig up old interviews and discover that even the boys themselves were thrown by her devastating foxiness. Quoth she: ‘They looked at me like I was some kind of threat. Jagger really tried to put me down, but there was no way some crude, lippy guy was going to do a number on me.’ Oh, Anita, we love you so.
Kat: I have to confess that of all our Style Icons, I was the most blase about Anita initially. Not because I think she’s unstylish (I’ll be damned if the woman doesn’t exude style) but because her witchy hippie style’s been so absorbed into the culture that it seems as natural a fact as water or air. I mean, take the ever-stylish, ever-present Kate Moss, who we love: total Anita acolyte, if not to the letter, then definitely in spirit. But then it hit me when I was standing in the balcony at Webster Hall the other night for the Gutter Twins show, completely surrounded by chicks wearing toughed-up hippie dresses, hair dyed platinum or raven, smeared heavy black eyeliner, cleavage pushed up to there. It was rock chick central up in the balcony, almost like a convention for Anita’s spiritual daughters. (Anita lives!) But Anita never offered herself up on a plate; she exuded elegance, power and even a bit of witchiness. You could tell she made the Stones feel out of her league, and they were always going to have to Prove It for her. Which, of course, is the natural order of things with Anita Pallenberg; she’s a queen in her court, regal, blithely defiant, sublimely wicked.