Jody Watley. Blue Issey Miyake Plastic Body Mold. Performing on Soul Train 1988. I had red as well as black though I believe I had the red customized to black.
I originally wore the Issey Miyake plastic bodice on my U.K. solo single in 1984. The label didn’t believe in the project or my direction so things never got off the ground—until I returned to USA
In 1984 – London ironically not fitting their image and box of “R&B artist” the UK label wanted me to just be the girl from Shalamar and to do something similar .. I had other plans. “You have to have a vision and believe in it. It paid off for me ultimately” – Jody Watley
I was tagged in a post with the very fashion forward Zendaya rocking a Tom Ford plastic bodice this week. Gorgeous.
Jody Watley 1988 in May’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar photographed by Francesco Scavullo wearing Angel Estrada, hair by Jeff Woodley, make up by John Evans.
I’ve told the story before, but here it is again in a quick snapshot. When my publicist notified that Harper’s Bazaar wanted to feature me in the magazine with photo session in New York by the legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo who has lensed some iconic images over the decades. They had no idea who he was or the additional significance.
this wasn’t a common occurrence in the music business at that time. My label did not agree to fly me to New York for this major opportunity asking me what did being in a fashion magazine have to do with selling records – forget the major exposure, the broadening of the audience, establishing me beyond music as a budding fashion icon and brand or however one wishes to look at things. I didn’t want to miss out and so I paid for my own flights and hotel to do this. Always invest in yourself if you have the means to do so.
Eventually of course major labels embraced the concept and additional prestigious PR and it became commonplace -and of course went even further with black superstar women in music like Rihanna, Beyonce, and more (Ciara, Alicia Keys) gracing the cover of high fashion magazines.
My solo debut was so monumental in a variety of ways beyond the Grammy nominations, winning Best New Artist, the hit singles and more. Always believe in yourself.
I’ve had many styles and looks over the years..no doubt my solo debut looks from the late 80’s are what many emulated back then and continue to with variations of it present day. My thing was black girls, Latin girls and other ethnicities could be edgy, funky and different too. Before it was a thing, vintage or thrift store pieces have always played a role in my personal style and pairing high end pieces with those others may consider as bargain bin. Sunglasses have also always been a staple in my wardrobe, not to mention the signature jumbo hoop earrings. In my in progress memoirs, I cover the politics of being a black girl who didn’t fit the box for the many in R&B, radio (why is she dressed like that?) and media and with some fans. It’s an interesting subject to reflect upon and to have pushed past and in my own way, broken through some of those obstacles.
Fast forward to 2019 and moving into the new decade it’s a good idea to continue to repurpose clothes, mend, buy second hand – it’s good for the environment and your wallet. Always donate, consign, mix it up and be you.
Working the skirt and handheld fan was inspired by flamenco dancers as a child and later the delicate use in Japanese culture. My collection is ever-growing from gifts to those I purchase in my travels..as well as custom.
Jody Watley – Ebony Magazine. Trendsetter. Soul Train…I even had a handheld fan brooch for extra detail.
A staple at my live shows. Often imitated over the years.
By always doing my own thing, keeping to myself, and just not being afraid to be different for the most part has always made me feel like a bit of an outcast – I’ve always been comfortable with that for the most part.
I’ve seen the popularity of the hand-held fan grow over the decades, and those who try to emulate or imitate me make use. It’s an art form if used properly.
When such things were based on achievement and not social media numbers. This was my second feature in Rolling Stone, this time more of a concept fashion and style feature being paired with an unlikely subject. The photo session took place in the Florida Everglades..I was so nervous, needless to say there were alligators in the water popping in and out, but it was all about the shot and being fierce. The crew did consist of a safety team and wranglers if needed. It didn’t take long to get the right take!
“If Jody Watley is looking for a new love, Roland Martin can certainly help her with the bait. She’s Jackie Wilson’s godchild, the ex-Shalamar chanteuse who’s already angling for her second Top 10 single as a solo artist. He’s the Jack Nicklaus of bass fishing, nine time Angler of the Year and sixteen-time winner of the Boss Angler Sports Tournament, and he’s rolling in the dough. He’s also the host of his own TV show, appropriately titled Fishing with Roland Martin.
Rolling Stone Issue 510 October 8, 1987, Fall Fashion “The Sporting Life.” Cover: Bono
Jody Watley Coat & Black Cashmere Dress: Stephen Sprouse Purple Pumps Arlene Laz Marca
Photography: Victoria Pearson ‘Don’t You Want Me’ — funky, trendsetting style. 1987-88 Classic.
Photography: Jon Ragel for Us Magazine – Elegance. 1993 Intimacy era.
I’m me with each project..I’m also a different me with new goals, emotions and inspirations as life dictates my soul and spirit to reflect through my art and music – never wanting to be a pop star.. just an artist and a woman at peace within herself for the choices I make at any given time…always evolving.
Breaking barriers as first black woman on Japanese fashion magazine, there were billboards across Japan and I also filmed a television commercial that aired through the country – such an honor. Photography: Philip Dixon. Makeup: Paul Starr. Wardrobe: Martin Sitbon
New Day – New Week – New Month.
“Always find your best light and shine from the inside out – live YOUR best life, it’s yours -don’t let the world get you down.” Wattage!!
JUNE 22 – Blue Note Napa “An Evening Of Love, Jazz and Soul” – Tickets
JULY 19 – Summerstage Corporal Thompson Park, New York
JULY 20 – Bethesda MD “Celebrating 30 Years of Real Love” Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club : Tickets
AUGUST 17 – Atlanta GA with Jeffrey Osborne Mable Barnes House Amphitheater
AUGUST 31 – Rewind Funk & Soul with Morris Day & The Time and more Sacramento CA – Thunder Valley Amphitheater
SEPTEMBER 7 – Blue Note Hawaii “Unplugged” : Tickets
OCTOBER 13 – With Tony! Toni! Tone! Detroit Soundboard Motor City Casino
OCTOBER 19 – San Antonio Texas TBA
DECEMBER 13 – with Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams and Ben Vereen “Colors Of Christmas” McCallum Theatre Palm Desert CA
DECEMBER 14 – with Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams and Ben Vereen “Colors Of Christmas” Cerritos Center for Performing Arts, Cerritos CA
Get the current single “Good Good Reason” with Brian Power and other recent releases Jody Watley as well as Jody Watley & SRL – available at all digital outlets
Follow my Artist Page on Spotify! Check out my playlists and lots of Jody Watley Music.