Scanned from Vogue, June 1976. Photographed by Barry Lategan. Modelled by Jerry Hall.
Once upon a time there was a princess from a far-away country who took Paris by storm. And all on account of her waist—length hair the colour of molten gold. And when the young men of Paris stood under the windows of her Left Bank hotel and cried: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair”, the princess just laughed and reached for another bottle of mayonnaise which is the magic potion she uses to keep her hair in condition. Yes, it’s a true life story … the princess is Gerry-Jaye Hall, a seventeen year old from Mesquite, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, who measures 36, 24, 36 and, at just under six feet tall, towers over most of the girls and a lot of the men in the bizarre world of Paris fashion.
One of five sisters (she’s a twin), Gerry-Jaye is the only girl who has not inherited the dark hair and brown eyes of her Choctaw Indian princess grandmother. Straight as an arrow she has gone to the top of the modelling tree in Paris where she’s the designers’ favourite, because on Gerry-Jaye a potato sack would look sexy. By day that hair and that body are raking in £100 per day in front of the camera . . . by night Gerry-Jaye is seen around town on the arm of Antonio, the illustrator who makes a speciality of discovering —and drawing—the most beautiful girls who live and work in Paris.
“Antonio helped me discover Paris,” she says in her breathless Texas drawl. “l’d been breaking in wild horses in a Texas rodeo and, well, Paris was a different scene … but now I’m making so much money I can’t wait to take Antonio back to Texas on vacation. My mother wants to fatten us both up. She thinks I’m too skinny. She thinks everybody is too skinny, except my sister who has her boobs fixed—enlarged you know?—she is 36C now and she’s so proud she can hardly bear to put any clothes on.”
Gerry-Jaye adopts some of that Texas pioneering spirit in keeping her mane of hair in good shape. She washes her hair twice a week with egg shampoo, then conditions it with herbal balsam. When her hair feels dry she dollops on a whole bottle of mayonnaise, followed by ten rinses. Beer is a substitute when the corner shop runs out of bottled mayonnaise. She swallows liver pills every day, a habit set by her mother who also has splendid hair. Does that wild head ever tangle? Apparently not. Gerry-Jaye brushes her hair night and morning with a natural bristle brush, starting at the bottom and taking in more length as she goes. Eschewing hair-dressers, she trims the ends every month by a quarter of an inch. Can she go swimming without making her hair into seaweed? She claims that sea water is beneficial and she never wears a cap. To keep her hair shining she squeezes in lemon juice while it’s drying. And the trendy, tendrilly curls? No rags, no curlers, Gerry-Jaye twists up the hair into a mop, shoves in two pins and shakes it out each morning. Just like the princess in the fairy story…
Dear Mr Ferry,
There seems to be some sort of immense cock-up, re. your new album. Those wags at the record company appear to have placed something called ‘Kate Moss’ on the front cover. How strange! How careless! Perhaps they need a little reminder of what a Roxy cover girl should really be like.
How kind of you to take the blame for them, by saying it was all your own idea. You’re such a gentleman. Although a little foolish, for who could believe that the BryanGod would ever deem Kate Moss to be a suitable Roxy girl?
You see, the big problem is that I wish to purchase your [surely] superb new piece of work, but I have an allergic reaction to Moss and cannot, therefore, get within a mile of it without breaking out in a rash. What a dilemma! What a pickle!
I look forward to purchasing from you again in the future, when sanity has been restored.
I must confess that, beyond thinking ‘poor love, imagine being married to that’, I didn’t always have particularly strong opinions on Bianca Jagger. I knew the legends, and I knew she was a stunner with a propensity to wear beautiful clothes, but The Stones aren’t my strongest musical suit and I couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for someone who had actually bothered to get married to Mick. Don’t even get me started on the whole Jerry Hall thing (she should have been Jerry Ferry, it’s just not right….).
Then I read her section in Wendy Leigh’s excellent book Speaking Frankly: What Makes a Woman Good in Bed (which you can pick up for as little as 70p on Amazon these days). Most of the content is boring, some is sordid (hello Angie Bowie), some is misogynistic (hello Oliver Reed, surprise surprise) and some is really rather lovely (hello, ummm, Roger Daltrey. And Serge Gainsbourg, the old rogue).
Bianca’s is a lovely, long, rambling analysis of a Catholic upbringing and a rather sweet, romantic and restrained adult love life. Which doesn’t quite fit with how you’d imagine any wife of a Rolling Stone to be. Not least one who partied at Studio 54. But then again, Bianca has that other-worldly quality which rises above groupie, girlfriend or just ‘wife’. She’s classy. Much as I loathe Jagger, he did have awfully good taste in women at times.
So here is a stunning Sunday Times Magazine feature on Bianca, wearing Zandra Rhodes’s incredible creations, from October 1972. She is my new hair idol, particularly that last shot… Check back tomorrow for the Zandra interview and photograph…