A rare interview with Jordan, punk’s enigmatic frontwoman
Working with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren, performing with the Sex Pistols and acting for Derek Jarman – Jordan Mooney reflects on a life of iconoclasm
With her legacy being celebrated in new tome Fashion + Music (out now, by Laurence King Publishing), punk legend Jordan discusses some of her most significant moments with the book’s author, Katie Baron.
Still one of punk’s most-fetishised poster women, Jordan Mooney’s pivotal role at the nexus of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s riotous (Sex and Seditionaries-era) world was vital to the looks of bands like the Sex Pistols and Adam and the Ants. She’s often immortalised in grainy black-and-white photography, as a severe vision of bleach-blonde-beehived, Cleopatra-eyed, latex-sheathed, fuck-you defiance, yet, there is far more to her influence than straightforward anarchic provocation. Rebellion was actually something of a by-product. Art (“I often described myself as a living work of art”), personal expression and a militant desire to champion the outlier were all at the real crux of her infectious perspective. As punk celebrates turning 40 this year, Jordan revisits her iconoclastic life.
At 14 you changed your name – why?
Jordan Mooney: I truly felt like I’d been labelled the wrong thing, like a kind of name dysmorphia.
You were suspended from school for your haircut, and famously given your own spot in a first-class carriage on the train to avoid your outfits provoking outrage in fellow commuters – do you think dressing the way you did was an act of bravery?
Jordan Mooney: People often refer to the name and the things that I wore as demonstrating bravery and shaking things up, but while I showed off to the best of my ability it wasn’t about bravery because I didn’t care what people thought. I’ve always been extremely comfortable in my own skin. It’s like being in an art movement – someone has to start it.
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