Saville Row: Jimmy Savile, style guru

Posted: June 19, 2012 in life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

jimmy savile

“I just get ideas, you see,” Jimmy Savile told youth style magazine i-D in 2007. Savile: Mr Fixit OBE, charity fundraiser, the original celebrity DJ, a man whose style affected fashion like hormones in tap water. “I have a lady who makes tracksuits who I tell to look out for certain fabrics when I get these ideas. For instance, this newsprint number…” There’s a certain tracksuit that the late Savile was often photographed in. Revisited today, the Savile-designed suit screams Galliano. “I get in a lot of papers, me, so they dearly love me to wear this when I have my picture taken for them.” So simple. Forget Alexa, forget the Beckhams – it’s clear to see how Savile, whose style came so naturally (I imagine him standing in front of his bedroom mirror, solemnly lowering a medallion over his nicotine-blonde hair), became one of Britain’s biggest fashion icons.

Viewing his looks since 1960 is a pleasure – a rich and nourishing buffet for the eyes. While he’s been described as the leading exponent of rap style – in his shades and his sportswear, he never wasted a hand by wearing only a single gold ring on it; on the cover of his autobiography he substituted the J and S of his name with pound and dollar signs – he was also an outspoken advocate of austerity chic. His favourite meal was a tin of baked beans microwaved in the same pint mug which he used to wash his hair, and he claimed to have just one formal suit. When travelling he’d pack only one pair of underpants, which he’d wash in the sink each evening. His ideal Saturday night, he claimed, was smoking a cigar and sitting in an armchair in front of Teletext.

But when he ventured out, the waves he made ripple still. Despite his early appearances on television being broadcast in black and white, in 1960 he presented the pop show Young at Heart with his hair dyed a different colour every week. Once he dyed it tartan, pre-empting Nicki Minaj‘s leopard-print bob by 50 years. The coloured string vests that drew gasps on the Prada catwalk? Savile, circa 2007. Ditto slogan T-shirts – Katharine Hamnett, Henry Holland, Marc Jacobs? Savile, Savile, Savile. He did it first – he did everything first. There are few designers today that don’t appear to have been keeping a winking fashion eye on Jimmy, if only because Jimmy’s eyes were so staunchly turned away. “I’ve kept too busy through the years to stop and take inspiration from anyone,” he sighed to i-D. “As soon as you stop moving – to sit down and watch TV or whatnot – you’re wasting life. I like to make the most out of every single second.” Asked  how he felt about the obvious, if sly, admiration from style-conscious teens, he shrugged. “I don’t have much interest in what the kids think of me. All I know is today is Thursday, and with a bit of luck tomorrow it’ll be Friday. Now there’s a logic to that.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s