In conversation with Duran Duran’s John Taylor
Duran Duran’s John Taylor talks supermodels and style icons.
WHO: John Taylor from Duran Duran
WHAT: His new book In the Pleasure Groove
WHERE: In book shops now
Bazaar: Who do you feel privileged to have got to know?
Taylor: I got to know all of my idols – The Sex Pistols, The Clash, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury – and, really, none of them disappointed me. The hardest thing is to put the fan away, until you do you can’t have a peer-to-peer conversation. You have to be realistic though, when I met David Bowie he wasn’t Ziggy Stardust any more. He was still an amazing guy but he wasn’t at the peak of his creative powers.
Bazaar: Talk to us about your style icons… Duran Duran developed such a signature look in the eighties…
Taylor: The two greatest style icons of the 70s, my formative years, were Bowie and The Sex Pistols. Bowie really nailed that androgynous look and took 70s style to the max; he created this otherworldly creature and took what men could wear to the edge. I still envy those platform shoes he wore. But it was The Sex Pistols who really set the bar for us with Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood. From the t-shirts to the strapping, and all those sexual, S&M overtones.
Bazaar: So talk us through the Duran Duran style…
Taylor: After that kind of education, all I knew was that our band had to have a look and it had to be unlike anyone else’s look. There was a little crossover in our first year; a little Spandeau Ballet, Adam Ant, and Brian Ferry in there, but it was our own thing developing, we quickly found our own groove. I think we’ve given more to fashion than any other band. There are individuals like Madonna, but, as a band, we’ve supported more labels and designers than anyone.
Bazaar: And Duran Duran is so linked to models too of course…
Taylor: That’s Le Bon’s joke: ‘Who do pop stars date? Models.’ It’s like, ‘Why does a dog lick its own balls? Because it can’. In the eighties there was this music/fashion thing, so Simon married Yasmin [Le Bon] and I dated Renée [Simonsen], the face of the 80s. But other than that, Andy married his hairdresser, Roger married his Brummy homegirl and Nick married a girl from the Mid West. It was one of those little things that got magnified.
Bazaar: But in your Girl Panic video that you made with Bazaar, the whole band was played by supermodels!
Taylor: That video was a huge amount of work, but it was the video of the year, really. Nothing touched it and if there were really any justice it would have won a MTV and Brit award. Those scenes of the girls performing that song, they have to be some of the most enduring images in the history of music video.
Bazaar: What did the girls bring to it?
Taylor: They were all absolutely magnificent. Everyone had real commitment but it was Naomi who knocked it out of the park. She was late of course but proved to everybody why she is a superstar; she sold that song, it was an extraordinary thing to witness. Cindy even studied up on me so she could actually talk like me and have my perspective on things.
Bazaar: What was your experience of Cindy Crawford playing you?
Taylor: She’s an extraordinarily flexible individual, I was watching her in a Helmut Newton documentary and she was just tireless doing these shots over and over again. Cindy is very patient; she has a steady, unflappable temperament. Actually, when I was driving her up and down the Thames for that scene in the Rolls Royce, I seriously thought about just heading for Scotland, kick the camera crew out and heading for the border.
In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran by John Taylor is out now.
Courtesy Harper's Bazaar UK