I remember the first time I listened to rock music. My father would occasionally drive my brother and I to school, blaring the electrifying sounds of rock icons such as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Some would argue that The Clash or Pink Floyd were a little too ‘mature’ for a pair of eight and nine year olds. But our education was in fact starting even before we entered the school gates. Growing up with rock music gave insight into an era where non-conformity was rife. And it didn’t stop at the music. The defiance and vigour released from these beats bled into all aspects of one’s identity, from drinking habits to jewellery. Rock was no longer a genre, it became a lifestyle. Rock music was both a mirror reflecting society and a canvas absorbing the evolution of attitudes it originally inspired. Listening to the music of rock band such as The Runaways and The Doors, the cultural feeling of the era is penetrating.
The age of classic rock seemed like the height of romance from afar. Tales of Woodstock, the UK punk rock scene, psychedelic hippie rockers - who wouldn’t want to be part of this euphoric pandemic of phenomenal music? Yet rock has always revealed its dark underbelly. Drugs, delusions and untimely deaths plague the history of rock, and many lives have been sacrificed in pursuits of musical mastery. Kurt Cobain. Janis Joplin. Tommy Bolin. Their music is heightened through the tragic legacies they leave behind. Even so, not only are we blessed with endless records and performances, the influence they had on the fashion scene is pertinent even today. Head designers of Preen Line, Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton used the personal style of Joplin as inspiration for their Pre-Fall 19 collection. Just earlier this month at London Fashion Week, the designers also showcased an array of black dressed referencing rock’n’roll aesthetics.
These icons offered the world a lot more than sublime music, they offered a way to reimagine and express your identity. The many shades of rock - punk rock, psychedelic rock, glam rock - each presented an aesthetic to push the boundaries of fashion, politics and culture. Take the punk rock scene for example, this era was defined by anarchist slogans, studded embellishments and excessive piercings. In celebration of the golden age of music, discover the top rock music icons whose style and jewellery defined an era.
Jimmy Page - Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page’s influence as a producer and guitarist make him one of the most iconic figures in the music industry. His career started in the 1960s. As a student he would often play alongside fellow guitarists such as Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton in a small London music venues. To gain a steady income, Page became a session guitarist, and would work as ‘insurance’ or second guitarists for bands at the recording studio. After building a strong reputation with his powerful musical vision, Page was approached to replace Clapton in The Yardbirds, which - after numerous years and reshuffling of musicians - evolved into the legendary group Led Zeppelin.
Page’s industry expertise as a music producer meant the band’s success soared. However, in typical rock and roll fashion, a cocktail of drugs, sex and alcohol blurred the lines between work and leisure. After that fateful day Led Zeppelin discovered fellow bandmate John Bonham dead after consuming approximately 40 shots vodka, the band soon declared their split in 1980 - unable to recover from the loss of Bonham. Jimmy Page, musical genius and sex symbol, channeled raw style throughout his career. From high-waisted flares and floral shirts to tailored suits and fur-trimmed coats - their style evolution resided perfectly between gritty urban edge and high-end rocker chic. Look how Page exudes authentic sex appeal with delicate metal chokers and pendants. Perhaps it’s his eternally cigarette-stuffed lips that do the trick, but Page shows how a man wearing jewellery will radiate energy and style.
Sid Vicious - Sex Pistols
He’s the self-proclaimed flower in the dustbin, questioning ‘when there's no future, how can there be sin?’ Sid Vicious certainly lived up to his name, vicious. Also known as Simon Ferocious and the Prince of Punk, the legendary bassist and vocalist of punk rock band the Sex Pistols embraced the black and bleak underworld of the punk rock scene. The band were both adored and abhorred by the nation. They took non-conformity to the very limits, scorning conventional society and advocating anti-establishment defiance. Their political angst contaminated relationships within the band. Recordings were fuelled by fights, bloodshed, alcohol, drugs, sex and utter turmoil. The Sex Pistol's career spanned a mere two and a half years, with Sid Vicious creating catastrophe at every opportunity. His addiction to heroin is often attributed to his toxic relationship with groupie and girlfriend, Nancy Spungen (pictured above). Vicious was the quintessential punk. He was often pictured wearing a padlock necklace, perhaps an ironic statement denoting control and dominance. His behavior, however, was the antidote to harmony. In 1978 Vicious was arrested for the murder of Nancy. Before he was trialed, Vicious died from a heroin overdose. Behind his punk leather bracelets, studded jackets, and metal cuffs, lay the dark reality of the punk nihilistic ideology - total destruction.
Joan Jett - The Runaways
Joan Jett was a pioneering figure in the 1970s rock scene. Her musical career kick-started with the founding of all-female teenage band, The Runaways. In an era where rock music was very much a man’s world, Joan Jett defied convention in true rock style, going on to become one of the most acclaimed guitarists in the history of rock music. Facing rejection, sexualisation, mockery and the endless battle within an industry built on misogyny, Jett established a vision for women and girls to embrace their individuality and combat prejudice with a fearless attitude. The Runaways broke up in 1979 following artistic disagreements. Jett favoured a punk/glam rock route, whilst other members wanted to champion their classic rock roots. Despite the band’s dissolution, Jetts moved to New York and established Blackheart Records in 1980, through which she released music from her new band, Joan Jetts and the Blackhearts. Jett’s classic rocker style resided in the typical safety pin adornments, heavy metal chains and studded leather cuffs. In combating conventional notions of femininity, Jett's style harnessed a much darker and powerful aesthetic.
Described as ‘the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock’, Jimi Hendrix is arguably the ultimate deity of rock music. The guitarist served up supreme fashion flair whilst leading a revolution of bold, brave and eternally-awesome rock music. Hendrix preempted 70s fashion with his bold floral shirts, fringed ponchos, colour splashed suits and beaded pendants. He radiated positivity, happiness and freedom through his clothing, extending his iconic legacy to the sphere of fashion as well as music. Hendrix’s eclipsing talent reverberated through everyone he met. He was known for his loving and kind disposition, until he would drink and become the violent and abusive ‘Hyde’ to his Jekyll. Hendrix’s fame flourished rapidly. Within months of releasing ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Hey Joe’, and ‘The Wind Cries Mary’, they had become Top 10 Hits and thus established his revolutionary place within the genre of rock. By his 1969 performance at Woodstock festival, Hendrix was the highest paid rock musician in the world. His renowned electro-blues sound inspired a generation of rock musicians such as Prince and Eric Clapton. In 1970, Hendrix died in London from accidental barbiturate-related asphyxia. Though his career only spanned a mere half-decade, his influence transcends eras of musical evolution.
Jim Morrison - The Doors
Jim Morrison’s name has almost become synonymous with rebellion and counterculture. Best remembered as the lead vocalist for The Doors, the American musician inspired a generation of bohemians. Morrison’s music was deeply influenced by literary and philosophical figures such as Nietzsche, Rimbaud and Baudelaire. His fascination with the human condition inspired months of LSD experimentation amongst other narcotics, which escalated into an alcohol addiction that would eventually stifle his musical endeavours. Like many of his rockstar contemporaries, Morrison’s relationship with alcohol inspired much aggression and violence. He was described as warm and loving by some and cool and distant by others, reflecting the reality of a troubled individual caught up in the vices of fame. On July 3rd 1971, Morrison was found dead in a bathtub at his apartment in Paris, discovered by his lover Pamela Courson. Jim Morrison has been celebrated as a the ultimate rock style icon met by premature death like many of his fellow rock musicians. He died just months after Hendrix and Joplin. Morrison’s bohemian style can be reduced to a plethora of beaded necklaces, 70s suits, metal and turquoise belts and rich Indian fabrics. Morrison sported an array of pendant necklaces typical to the bohemian aesthetic, reflecting a free and uncaged approach to fashion. Whilst creativity and destruction seem to go hand for many rock icons, their raw style and sartorial authenticity was never quelled.
Stevie Nicks - Fleetwood Mac
Stevie Nicks is a woman like no other. For years, she has captivated audiences with her mystical stage presence, mesmerising voice and renowned fashion look. Her musical career began when she met Lindsey Buckingham and became lead vocalist of his band, Fritz. Fritz supported the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in the late 60s, gaining both Nicks and Buckingham a strong repute within the west coast rock scene. The duo were scouted by Fleetwood Mac to form an Anglo-American rock band like no other. This is where Nick’s signature aesthetic was truly born, featuring chiffon shawls, flowing garments and layered pendants. The band’s renowned performance style was enchanting, providing both incredible fashion and musical influences for years to come. Stevie Nicks’ fashion sense is unapologetic and timeless - it’s Nicks’ and Nicks’ only, adding to the ineffable magic of the female rock legend.
Carve your rock and roll aesthetic with heavy metal jewellery.