HEY BABY, WE LIKE YOUR PANTS…
All aboard for Funtime! Let’s take a trip through Iggy’s fascinating fashions!
By Madeline Bocaro ©
© Madeline Bocaro, 2019. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the permission of the copyright owner.
One would think there is not much to say about Iggy Pop’s wardrobe – that it would be the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. To the contrary, Iggy has assimilated an odd array of clothing and accessories for stage wear (not unlike Ralph Kramden economically adapting household objects to make his Halloween costume on The Honeymooners). Iggy had no concerns about practicality nor gender. Many of his irreverent and sometimes edible ensembles have since become iconic.
These days we think of Iggy Pop as a craggy old long-haired shirtless guy whose weathered chest tells the story of his extremely wild life. However, James Osterberg / Iggy Pop was once one of the finest creatures that ever walked the earth. Although he remains primal and almost naked most of the time, Iggy has a truly warped sense of style which totally works! Aside from some jealous folks who claim to be repelled by his aged body (YOU should look this good at age 71!) those of us who love Iggy still find him beautiful – especially the twinkling fire in his big blue eyes, his youthful spirit and wild energy.
The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and Elvis’ Colonel Parker were very sure of the formula for success. They tamed and styled their respective charges in suits, and it worked. Iggy Pop could not be tamed. He had no formula and for many years, no success. He burst out of every shirt that he tried to wear, like The Incredible Hulk. It took decades, but Iggy and his band The Stooges have finally gotten the recognition they deserve. Iggy is still going strong, and we will always need his noise!
Iggy’s wardrobe, or lack thereof needed to be flexible and comfortable – for all the interactivity and abuse hurled back and forth between himself and his audience. Durability was necessary, to accommodate his frequent trips into the crowd at Stooges gigs; chest pounding, monkey scratching, frog hopping, amplifier climbing and his usual array of hilariously silly and sometimes sublime dance moves. No designer could conceive of styling the Stooges. They were a force of nature. Early on, the Stooges mainly wore jeans and T-Shirts. At their first show, Iggy’s theatricality began to emerge. He wore a maternity dress, an aluminum afro wig, white face paint and golf shoes.
Let’s take a look back at Iggy’s wonderful wardrobe…
The Naked Torso
Iggy’s most often-worn and most economical outfit is his own rippling and glistening bare chest, usually adorned with stitches, blood and battle scars from his wild stage antics. It is most effectively paired with white jeans during his February 1970 photo shoot with photographer Peter Hujar. His naked torso needs no accessories. It is magnificent in a stunning nude shoot by Gerard Malanga in 1971.
Photos: Peter Hujar / Gerard Malanga
Iggy: Why do I always take my shirt off? Hey, I have worked with shirts. I worked with shirts for a period in the Seventies…It’s to get across.” A pause followed by a stare so intense it could blow an amp. “To get closer to you. It just gets across, like a lonely sax. It reaches in a way that works for me.”
– Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction – Cleveland, May 2010
“The pharaoh never wore a shirt.”
– Iggy to Stephen Colbert, 2016
Early Stage Attire
“At the Grande Ballroom, Iggy took a woman’s bathing cap and stuck all these strips of aluminum foil around it to make a wig out of it. Then he rubbed his face with baby oil and took glitter and just threw it on his face. He had a tutu on with black tights and a metal plate on the floor with a microphone on it, and he’d stomp on that with the one golf shoe he was wearing. It was real hot in the ballroom that night, and he started sweating—and that’s when realized what you need eyebrows for, ’cause everything on his face just started running into his eyes. We only played for 20 minutes, but at the end, his eyes were swollen up and totally red and puffy—’cause all that oil and glitter went right in his eyes…”
– Scott Asheton
Baby, baby we LOVE your pants!
Iggy occasionally wears pants. There are always borderline moments onstage when it is debatable whether he is actually wearing pants, as they are at times completely ripped and shredded, or pulled so far down (either by himself or by the audience). Underwear is optional as well. At early Stooges gigs, Iggy wore brown leather trousers (allegedly owned by Jim Morrison) but later reverted back to jeans.
Iggy wore a stylish patterned pair of low-slung pants made by MC5 vocalist Rob Tyner’s wife Becky at the Stooges gig at Mothers in Romeo, Michigan in August 1968. In all the commotion surrounding Iggy’s stage antics, these hip huggers failed to hug his hips, leading to Iggy’s arrest for public nudity.
Photo: Leni Sinclair
He wore cut-off Levi’s shorts and Minnetonka moccasins at the Stooges’ Flushing Meadows Park gig (the former site of the New York World’s Fair) in September 1969.
The chronological daily deconstruction of Iggy’s denim jeans onstage helped historians to pinpoint exact Stooges concert dates. Toward the end, it appears as though he is the victim of an explosion from the waist down.
The Silver Trousers
These gorgeous shiny silver leather pants with rivets were Iggy’s second skin. They were purchased with the advance that Iggy received (as a solo artist) prior to the recording of Raw Power. (Bowie’s Mainman management had signed Iggy and brought him to London, telling him to ditch the Stooges and audition new band members). He also purchased the same pants in black. Both pair were shared with his bandmates. The silver ones were worn at The Stooges’ infamous King’s Cross gig and ended up on the iconic Raw Power album cover photo. They were often paired with his cheetah jacket (mentioned later in this story)
Tony Zanetta of Mainman was with Iggy when they bought them. He gave me this exclusive:
“The silver pants came from North Beach Leather’s Madison Avenue Shop in New York. (manager Tony) Defries has seen them in the store window and wanted Iggy to have them. Iggy who was staying in Detroit with his parents had been sent for and was staying at the Warwick. Tony was bringing him back to London. I was summoned to be his minder at the hotel for the few days before their departure to London. I’m a little fuzzy on the exact time but it must have been early 1972. Tony gave me $500 to take Iggy shopping. We spent all of it on the pants. We were both a little intimidated having spent that much on a pair of trousers but Tony just laughed it off. There were obviously worth every penny.”
The Dog Collar
In 1970, Iggy took a trip to a pet store – Bowser Boutique in Los Angeles, to purchase a fashionable red dog collar to wear on stage. In the Stooges documentary film Gimme Danger, Scott Asheton (seated next to Iggy) agrees that it did look good. Pop usually paired the collar with evening gloves and jeans, shredded as though he’d been in an explosion. This, along with guitarist Ron Asheton’s (later) Nazi regalia pre-dated Punk fashion by five years.
Here, on a Metallic KO promo poster, I love how the lettering extends from Iggy’s collar like a leash. I think it looks quite fetching!
Evening Gloves (1970)
Who are you wearing? “Kmart!”
Question: You wore silver gloves onstage. Michael Jackson later wore a glove – is there a connection?
“Well, I liked these silver gloves that I saw on a mannequin wearing an evening gown in Kmart, and I thought, WOW those would look great on me, so I bought a case of them, then later sent our roadie down there to buy more.” Iggy went on to say that Bill Whitten who designed some of his stage outfits in the mid-seventies that were more ‘Glamula’, also designed the glove for Michael Jackson (to cover his vitiligo)!
– Iggy– Total Chaos book talk & signing @ Rizzoli books, NYC November 4, 2016
A pair of Iggy’s gloves were displayed at Cleveland’s Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 in an exhibit honoring that year’s inductees, including The Stooges.
(Iggy’s ‘higher end’ gloves had buttons down the arm, as seen in the black & white photos)
Photos by Jack Robinson & Ed Caraeff:
I have since located another pair of Iggy’s gloves – on Jayne County!
Jayne also had some of Iggy Pop’s outfits that she got from Mainman as well. She told me, “I altered them and wore them for my 82 Club appearances. They were these awful glitter outfits they had made for him that he didn’t wear! I altered them and made dresses out of them.” Jayne can be seen wearing a pair of Iggy’s infamous gold gloves in a photo from Club 82.
Candle Wax (1970)
Iggy could never tolerate a seated audience. He eyed the candle votives on each table at the Whisky in May 1970 and could not resist showering himself in dripping hot wax. He claims that it didn’t hurt. Here is Iggy holding the candle in his silver-gloved hands, captured in these stunning photos by Ed Caraeff in his book One Night at the Whisky.
See my book review here:
One Night at the Whisky– by Ed Caraeff
By Madeline Bocaro ©
Peanut Butter (1970)
Of the many foodstuffs and condiments that were hurled at the Stooges by their fans (who always brought an edible arsenal), Iggy wore none better than peanut butter. As he walked on the outstretched hands of the crowd (on two hits of acid) during the song ‘1970’ at the televised Cincinnati Pop Festival (June 13, 1970), Iggy was handed a jar of the now infamous spread by a fan. He gleefully smeared the peanut butter all over his chest and tossed gooey globs onto his delighted minions.
Iggy: “I don’t think I would have done that to ‘Hang on Sloopy’!”
Author Jeff Gold astutely comments, “So you’re literally in a way like Sinatra at the Sands there!”
– Total Chaos, by Jeff Gold
Photos by Tom Copi:
At the Electric Circus in New York City (May 1971) and for many live performances of Fun House, Iggy wore a simple look of silver body paint and glitter (stuck on with baby oil) and jeans. When the oil ran into his eyes, he realized what eyebrows were for (he had shaved his off). This was the start of his silver period.
Iggy: “Because of deficiencies in the lighting system, to be visible I used to pour baby oil over myself then pour glitter all over my body, just to catch the light. It spoke of refractions to come; it spoke of resonance.”
– The Independent– Rocking the Look, May 2010
“I wanted to look kind of smooth, slinky and super forward…
More glamour became necessary.”
– Iggy, to John Savage, The Flesh Machine, Vice Magazine 2012
(Photos: Leee Black Childers / middle photo by Eric Rudolph):
Nitebob / Craig Petty:
T. Rex T-Shirt
Iggy wore a T. Rex shirt, representing the fourth member of the Glam god squad. (Marc Bolan was absent). Iggy poses with Bowie and Lou Reed in these famous Mick Rock photographs at London’s Dorchester Hotel in 1972 during the week of the Stooges’ only non-USA gig to date at the Scala. Riding the wave of success with his Ziggy Stardust concerts, Bowie was promoting his American idols, Iggy and Lou. Ziggy’s make-up had obviously rubbed off on them.
Photos by Mick Rock
See my story about Iggy and his pals in this infamous Dorchester Hotel press conference:
Who Can I Be Now by Madeline Bocaro ©
The Cheetah (1972)
The story of Iggy’s faux leather and fur jacket (worn on the back cover of the Raw Power album) is so cool that I wrote a separate story all about it. Iggy prowled around London inspired by the fierce cheetah on the back of his jacket to write the lyrics to ‘Search and Destroy’.
John Dove & Molly White’s 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… Read my story here:
(See the nice comment I got from the jacket’s original designers, John Dove and Molly White).
Streetwalking Cheetah – Iggy Pop’s Jacket
By Madeline Bocaro ©
Photos by Mick Rock
The Tastykakes (1973)
At first, it was mistakenly thought that Iggy had been cut and bleeding after being hauled back on stage from a routine excursion into the crowd while on THC. This was during the Stooges’ Washington D.C. concert with Mott The Hoople in 1973. Later it was erroneously reported and believed for years that he had been smeared with a jelly sandwich. My further extensive research uncovered that Iggy had in fact been smeared by a fan with blueberry Tastykakes!
Read my fascinating detective story here…
Iggy & the Tastykakes
By Madeline Bocaro ©
The Fur Jacket and Scarf (1973)
In this case, if Iggy were asked, “Who are you wearing?” he probably couldn’t tell you exactly. It seems as though said to a girl, “Hey, I’ll trade you my pants for your jacket and scarf!” I think he made a great deal! These phtotos were taken backstage at the Troubadour in late 1973 with photographer Richard Cromelin and with Elton John.
The Panties (1974)
Iggy copped this look off his roadie’s girlfriend. ‘He actually walked into the dressing room at Bimbo’s in San Francisco and said, “Give me your panties.”
“I had no idea he was going to wear them on stage!”
– DeeDee Keel
Iggy also sported souvenir ‘Soho’ briefs at the Whisky A Go Go.
“I had this pair of underwear I bought at a little kiosk in Piccadilly Circus…they just said SOHO over the penis. I guess they were women’s, but I didn’t think about that, I just thought about how cool I would look in them. “
– Iggy, to John Savage, The Flesh Machine, Vice Magazine 2012
One-Legged Costume (1974)
This was a Bill Whitten creation – a super low-waisted studded one-legged sarong look. The outfit, worn with thigh-high boots had one matching fingerless glove. Sometimes worn with a breast plate. Whitten also created James Williamson’s Dracula jumpsuit. This was for the autumn 1973 tour, probably worn for the first time at Max’s on July 30.
Iggy: “He (Whitten) reimagined me as a giant praying insect or dragonfly or something, and James as some sort of vampire. We started looking like we had wandered in from a junkie sci-fi movie.” Very William Burroughs I venture. “More Kenneth Anger,” corrects Iggy.
– The Independent– Rocking the Look, John Savage May 2010
Worn with black leotards and ballet slippers. Iggy is wearing this ensemble during a Stooges gig on March 1973 immortalized on the Metallic KO album. This was not the best outfit for taunting The Scorpions biker gang, who accessorized Iggy with eggs. (The album’s cover photo was actually taken at an earlier gig – at the Whisky).
It’s a Knockout – by Madeline Bocaro ©
Hey babe, your hair’s alright!
Iggy discovered Nestle’s Streaks ‘n Tips at the drugstore – a silver spray paint for hair. (Later, his hair was dyed professionally by Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust hairstylist Suzi Fussey – later Mrs. Mick Ronson). After a swim at the Beverly Hills Hotel, his silver hair turned green.
Photos by Leee Black Childers:
Baby, baby we like your lips
Iggy wears silver hair and pants, with black eyeshadow on his lips at the Stooges London gig at King’s Cross. (James is also wearing makeup).
In the book Total Chaos, Iggy declares (ensconced in a London hotel room with a wall of mirrors),
“I was gonna front a band, y’know,
so you have to be narcissistically prepared.”
King’s Cross Cinema photos: Mick Rock/Alec Byrne:
Long before the1984 Band Aid concerts, Iggy sported a Band-Aid on his chin after smashing into a door backstage at a Mott The Hoople / New York Dolls concert in NYC in 1973.
The Bow-Tie (1974)
Iggy, with bleached blonde hair wore patched jeans, sneakers and a bow-tie (resembling his idol Soupy Sales) for his Creem magazine photo shoot in April 1974. Iggy destroys vinyl records, including the Stooges’ Raw Power with a hammer. He also wore the bow-tie onstage with white jeans.
“I must be hungry ‘cos I go crazy over your leather boots!”
Aside from his authentic Beatle boots, Iggy frequently wore tight-fitting thigh-high boots on stage with skirts or with panties.
This beverage features prominently on the Metallic KO album. When Iggy announces that someone threw a Strohs amidst eggs and other edible missiles, we hear the bottle crash-landing onstage. Iggy was usually drenched in beer by the audience and also by himself, to cool off onstage.
Open Up and Bleed
For whatever reasons that Iggy bled onstage, there is nothing more real and pure that anyone can give of themselves. At times he was self-punishing, at others he was just giving until he could not give anymore. Iggy was never merely a performer. He always gave us large doses of his own reality.
An ambulance waited outside Rodney’s English Disco in Hollywood on August 11, 1974. Iggy performed a piece called ‘Murder of a Virgin’ in which Ron Asheton (wearing a Nazi uniform) whipped Iggy as the singer slashed himself with a knife. A photo ended up on the cover of the California’s Bleeding bootleg.
Photos: Michael Ochs
The Trench Coat (1976)
Iggy became a blonde again in 1976 while traveling with David Bowie on his Station to Station tour. (Somewhere there is a mug shot of Iggy from their marijuana bust in Rochester, NY. As of now, we have only seen Bowie’s).
Upon his move to Berlin with Bowie in 1977, Iggy resembled a Russian spy in a classic trench coat and boots. (Bowie wore one as well). His later Berlin street look reverted to shorter dark hair, a leather jacket and jeans.
Photo: Esther Friedmann:
The Gray Jacket (1977)
On the cover of his album The Idiot, Iggy is wearing a simple gray jacket that is obviously too small for him. This is because it belongs to his girlfriend.
“I borrowed that jacket from my girlfriend at the time, Esther Friedmann. It was a woman’s jacket. It was probably French, or it could have been vintage German. The idea was that it didn’t get in the way. The waist was kept short, and the arms were too short so that it emphasized the hand and length of the whole arm.”
– Iggy to Jon Savage, The Flesh Machine – VICE Magazine – 2012
The album cover photo by Andrew Kent was inspired by Erich Heckel’s painting, Roquairol, which hung in the Brücke Museum, not far from Hauptstrasse 155, Bowie and Iggy’s Berlin residence. They’d secured the rights to use the painting for the cover of The Idiot, but instead used a photo of Iggy imitating the image. Bowie would also mimic the Heckel painting on the cover of “Heroes” in 1978.
Photos: Andrew Kent (#1), Sukita (#2 & 4)
IDIOT PROOF – IGGY’S NO FOOL!
By Madeline Bocaro ©
For The Idiot tour, Iggy opted for a simple black belt (worn loosely outside the loops) and jeans, with a gold crucifix adorning his chest. His pal Bowie appeared inconspicuously on keyboard in checkered flannel shirt, jeans and desert boots.
Photo on right by Madeline Bocaro ©
Geta Shoes (1977)
Iggy wore Japanese geta shoes (traditionally worn with kimono) on French TV with jeans and a shirt which he promptly removed. He reprised the look in Japan for photographer Sukita in a crisp white shirt.
The Chair (1977)
I have not been able to ascertain the designer of the stunning chair that Iggy wore in San Francisco, but it he looked divine in it.
Bitch Stole My Look!!!
The Helmet (1977)
Iggy dressed for battle on his Soldier tour, although he remained shirtless.
Photos: Madeline Bocaro ©
The Palm Tree (1978)
Iggy goes wild on Dutch TV show Top Pop for his performance of ‘Lust for Life’. He destroys the set and practically wears the foliage while writhing in his duct-taped jeans and white-face with garish rouge. Iggy wears one black shoe and one white one. His chest is smeared with paint. The production team warned him, “Please don’t ruin the place, like we have seen you do before”. And the rest is history.
The Tail (1978)
A horse tail was a fine addition to Iggy’s look with a white T-shirt and jeans as he pranced through the Lust for Life tour. “Horse Song” appears on a future album, Zombie Birdhouse.
Photo on far right: Madeline Bocaro ©
This clip has it all! The TAIL, the cape, mis-matched shoes, pancake makeup, garish rouge, the blood smear, the backbend and the chair!
I love how he treads upon the cape and destroys the chair!!!
Worn offstage for reading, these reveal Iggy’s nerdy and studious alter-ego – his Jerry Lewis look.
In a 1980 Sukita photo shoot for his Party album cover, Iggy manages to remain situated in a crisp white shirt for several minutes!
Photo: Masayoshi Sukita
Stockings, Garters, skirt and Cap (1980s)
Sometimes paired with a sweater and scarf or a leotard.
“I had a nice look for a while in the early 80s—Americans really hated it. I was still going with Esther, and I would just buy all her clothes and go out onstage with moderate heels, fishnet stockings, a miniskirt, a little leather jacket, and a mini leather cap. Sometimes I’d wear a little white shirt underneath. I looked like a temp secretary or something. That was a good look.”
“…There can be some sex in there, but there can also be some humor…. A lot of it is also something about being human – the spiritual need to shine a little.” – Iggy
A proud Iggy, missing a tooth surveys the ‘gifts’ he received from the crowd in disapproval of his outfit when opening for the Rolling Stones at Detroit’s Silverdome wearing a tutu in 1981. The numerous missiles were removed from the stage using a snow shovel.
This smoky-eye look is from a nice photo shoot in Japan (1980s)
Green Face Paint (1982)
On the road with his Zombie Birdhouse album, Iggy wore tribal makeup with dabs of paint on his earlobes, accentuated with a voodoo mask necklace. (The album cover shot was taken in Haiti). He recently mentioned (on his wonderful BBC6 radio show, Iggy Confidential) that he was made to open for A Flock of Seagulls once in the dreadful 1980s. Iggy played the gig – but in protest, he painted his face green and had his road crew erect a ten-foot tall crucifix with which he burdened himself onstage.
Iggy on The David Letterman Show 1982:
Leather Jacket (1986)
The ‘Wild One’ look for his Blah Blah Blah tour featured cool and neat short black hair and a white T-shirt.
Photo: Greg Gorman
In 1988-89 for his Cold Metal tour, Iggy was again in leather. He reprised the look for the Naughty Little Doggie tour.
The Plastic Pants (1997)
On the BBC TV show The White Room, Iggy wore clear plastic pants (without underwear of course), as he thought they would nicely reflect the lights. It is miraculous that this was not censored.
The Broccoli (2001)
Iggy appeared on The David Letterman Show in June 2001 reprising the elbow-length evening gloves (this time, in gold) and jeans. He accessorized with a head of broccoli around his neck (because he hates broccoli). Iggy tossed the vegetable into the crowd during his song, “Mask” from the album Beat ‘Em Up.
A Suit (2010)
At the Rock N’ Roll Hall of fame induction of The Stooges in 2010, Iggy wore a nice suit, paired with two middle fingers!
The Dress (2011)
In spring 2011, Iggy wore a cocktail dress, complemented by a Lady Dior tote under his arm in a shot by Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson for T Magazine. More of these images are in Jansson’s photo book Iggy Pop, with this quote.
“I’m not ashamed to ‘dress like a woman’ because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman.” – Iggy Pop
Iggy did the first few Stooges gigs barefoot. From 1969 to 1971 he wore one pair of beloved Beatle boots. They were slightly femme with a Cuban heel which gave him a little height. After that, he wore dance Capezios. In his mid-thirties, needing more support he started wearing durable, engineered Blunstone shoes from Australia. “They have good traction and extra room to wrap my wounds.” Now he wears Gucci shoes since he gets them for free.
At his leisure, and after a leg injury, Iggy rocks a pair of specially adapted Crocs.
Dabbling in Design
In 2010, Iggy rocked Ray-Ban to promote their new Aviator line.
Iggy collaborated with Pop Sailor in 2014 to design a limited edition of 50 denim vests.
In 2017 he teamed with Billabong to design board shorts. One design features his pet cockatoo Biggy.
“I usually wake up and stay nude for three or four hours,” “And when I feel like getting formal, I’ll put on boardshorts. Life is better in boardshorts.” – Iggy Pop
For his Post Pop Depression tour in 2016, Iggy opted for matching suits for himself and his band members. His jacket came off after the first song.
Full Circle… Nude Again
In November 2016 Iggy posed nude for British artist Jeremy Deller’s life-drawing class at Brooklyn Museum . This resulted in an exhibit and a book, available here…
In his lifetime Iggy Pop has probably spent more time in the nude than any other civilized human being. After all, nothing fits better than his birthday suit!
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