When Duran Duran were starting out in Birmingham, there was an extraordinary creative scene rapidly developing in the city. At its centre was the Rum Runner club where everyone converged, and at the core of the scene were Patti Bell and her design partner Jane Kahn.
Patti was on the frontline where individualism, freedom of expression, charisma and style were the most valued currencies. Along with Jane, they had opened a radical and extremely influential clothing boutique in town, called Kahn and Bell. It was packed with their designs, which were flamboyant, eccentric and stunning - all of which reflected their personalities.
Patti had wonderful energy and a wicked sense of humour. She was irreverent and never cared what other people thought. She transformed herself daily, never failing to surprise, looking exotic and unique. She was a lady who really knew how to make an entrance…
I feel lucky to have known her as a friend and to have experienced those times when new ideas were erupting all around. Patti was an inspiration to the band and we often wore her designs - some of which are featured in our first video, Planet Earth.
Several years ago, John Taylor and I compiled an album called Only After Dark, which featured the music played at the Rum Runner. We wanted to find one image for the front cover that was most evocative of that period. We chose a photo of Patti.
She will be greatly missed by all of us in Duran Duran, but her spirit will live on.