A chip off the old rocker

Jeweler Jade Jagger puts famous pedigree to work, designing baubles for the rich

April 27, 2003|By Booth Moore | Booth Moore,Special to the Sun

One of the great fashion mysteries is who in the world actually wears hot pants. Apparently, the answer is Jade Jagger. On a recent visit to Los Angeles, the daughter of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and his first wife, Bianca, held court in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel dressed in super-short shorts and a green sweatshirt silk-screened with a pornographic image.

Not exactly the kind of gal one would peg as the creative director of Garrard. Founded in 1735, the old-guard British crown jeweler renovated the Imperial State Crown for Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 and also created Princess Diana's engagement ring. But, like so many luxury goods companies, Garrard is attempting to dust off its dowdy image, and Jagger certainly has the rock 'n' roll cred for the job.

Which is not to say that she doesn't have talent. Her pieces are modern and distinctive. The moving rings of a $13,000 white gold and diamond pendant from the Orrery collection bring to mind the planet Saturn, while a $4,700 ring with diamonds set in a mazelike design from the Superstyle group was inspired by Op Art. Though one imagines that a $6,250 chain necklace with a diamond and onyx charm in the shape of a pistol might have a more limited audience.

"I have a kind of teen-age mentality," said Jagger, 31, sipping a frothy latte that lingered on the curl of her lips. "But there are a lot of people out there I don't think are being catered to." That includes the hip-hop crew. "They are a community that celebrate their wealth, and they are proud of it," she said.

Jagger was a designer long before Garrard hired her. In the 1990s, her Jade Inc. line of Eastern-inspired jewelry and accessories won over Madonna and Kate Moss, and she was a muse for British clothing designer Matthew Williamson.

At the same time, Garrard was struggling. It was purchased in 1995 by Prince Jefri Bolkiah, the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, then briefly merged with Asprey, another crown jeweler. In 2000, Garrard was bought by Montreal-based investor Lawrence Stroll and his Hong Kong-based business partner Silas Chou, who brought Jagger on board. A new Garrard flagship store opened last year off London's Bond Street with a party at the Tower of London, where Jagger posed with Prince Charles.

Born in Paris, Jagger grew up in Manhattan, then in England, where she was expelled from an all-girls boarding school. Pursuing an interest in painting, she traveled to Florence, Italy, to study and fell in love with fellow art student Piers Jackson, who became the father of her two daughters, Assisi and Amba, now age 10 and 8, respectively. She has since had a string of beaus, including Dan MacMillan, who is the great-grandson of former British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, and the designer of said sweatshirt. She splits her time between London, where Garrard is based, and Ibiza, Spain, where she's known for throwing raucous house parties that become international tabloid fodder.

Jagger is often described as a hippie chick, though she abhors the term. "I think it's because I had kids really young and because I like to live in the country. But besides those two things, there ain't nothing hippie about me," she said, demurring a bit when pressed. "OK, I have three tepees and I do yoga. Does that make me a hippie?"

The subject of her parents looms, but Jagger tries to avoid it, revealing only that her father likes to wear her jewelry. She speaks more freely about her political-activist mother. She said, "My mother has all of her old clothes in storage, and she keeps telling me I should go check them out."

No doubt she'd find a few pairs of hot pants.

Booth Moore is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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