IGGY POP’S JACKET
By Madeline Bocaro ©
The vicious cheetah on the back of Iggy Pop’s jacket is a strange animal. It inspired one of the greatest opening lines of a song ever, “I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm”. The song is The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and the album is the legendary Raw Power, released in 1973.
As David Bowie has his own traveling exhibit featuring his stage costumes, it is fitting that we show appreciation for the rock n’ roll Shroud of Turin – Iggy’s jacket!
(See photos below).
So, who designed the jacket, and where is it now? The faux-leather jacket’s designers were John Dove and Molly White. In 1968 the media began to feature the work of John, the painter/sculptor and Molly a textile printer. Soon their items were selling. Molly’s furnishing fabrics were being launched by Hull Traders and her original printed silks sold well at Liberty’s and at the Mr. Fish boutique (the designer of David Bowie’s infamous man’s dresses). In the summer, they designed some DIY pieces based on the American baseball with all the sections ready to cut and sew together.
Their ‘Wild Thing’ T-shirt (in tribute to Jimi Hendrix) featured a roaring cheetah head with the words ‘WILD THING’ beneath it. The shirt was pirated from America to Brazil to become the first global T-shirt hit. Its success launched rhinestones as a major T-shirt fashion and by 1973 John & Molly were selling thousands of shirts under their Wonder Workshop label.”
Their cheetah design jacket with green satin leopard print lining appeared in L’Uomo Vogue magazine in 1971. Only five jackets were made. Now represented by Bowie’s management company, Iggy bought one with his generous MainMan management stipend while the Stooges were in London recording Raw Power.
The cheetah image also adorned T-shirts. The shirt was worn by Brian Connolly of The Sweet, and one by Marc Bolan as seen in the Sukita photographs.
Iggy later traded his jacket for $2,000 to Stan Lee, guitarist of the Dickies for drugs. He later tried to buy it back from Lee, who steadfastly refused his offer.
Many years later, in 1998 Lee sold the jacket to the head of the label Sympathy for the Record Industry for $3,000.
Excerpt from: The Flesh Machine / Vice.com
by Jon Savage – Feb. 9. 2012
Where did you get the now-iconic leather leopard jacket featured on the back cover of Raw Power?
Iggy: “James Williamson and I were staying in Kensington, and there was a market. I went over there and, it was like Steve Martin in The Jerk or something, you know? Like, “Hey, it’s me! It’s who I am.” I bought it that day, and I bought a man purse, like a shoulder bag made out of—honestly it looked like it was made out of a black-and-white chinchilla cat. So I had that, I would walk around Kensington, Hyde Park, Mayfair, and Bayswater in my dressed-down leather pants. I had two pairs of leather pants—silver glitter leather, which were for, like, special state occasions like a Stooges gig or going out to a really big gig, and black leather pants, but instead of stitches there were rivets; they were heavy duty. And by this point I’d been to Anello & Davide and bought a new pair of Beatle boots because they still had some left over. I would sort of mince or trundle or slink around those neighborhoods, going on long walks, trying to figure out what I was doing, wearing the cheetah jacket, leather pants, and Beatle boots. [laughs]”
Iggy Pop Jacket Reissue Project
Trading Museum / COMME des GARÇONS / Tokyo
Iggy Pop, the icon of punk rock. “RAW POWER’ the seminal album by his band THE STOOGES, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2013. At the time of its release in 1973, the jacket of Iggy, photographed by Mick Rock for the back cover of the album, became much talked about. The jacket was made by the U.K. punk label ‘WONDER WORKSHOP’ which was founded by artists JOHN DOVE & MOLLY WHITE. Gradually the jacket became an icon of RAW POWER, later called ‘the Iggy Pop Jacket’. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of RAW POWER, John Dove & Molly White have reissued the jacket, with Lewis Leathers London.
In July 2013, when the Stooges performed at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown concert at Royal Festival Hall, Iggy left the stage during an instrumental break, quickly dyed his hair brown and emerged wearing the Lewis Leathers edition of his old cheetah jacket . He joyfully screamed out, ‘I feel better!’ So, in the end, Iggy got his jacket back!
Read about the Lewis Leathers of London limited edition of 26 jackets, printed using the original screens in 2013 for the 40th anniversary of Raw Power.
Also see my story:
Hey Baby – We Like Your Pants! Iggy Pop’s Style
Overend Watts, Mott The Hoople:
April 6, 2019: