This past week, we have been celebrating the legacy of Jimi Hendrix as 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of two seminal Hendrix albums: his legendary debut, Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love. In our print issue this month (October 2017), we sat down with Jimi's sister, Janie, to discuss the artist's life in music and art. We also asked her about Jimi's sense of style, for which she responded below. Click here to read our full interview with Janie Hendrix.
“I think Jimi’s artistry overflowed into his dress. He wasn't trying to conform to how people were dressing. The Beatles came out in their suits and their ties, and he wasn't about that. He was tying scarves around his legs, wrists, neck and his head. A lot of that fashion, as well, came from, and this is going to sound odd, but our grandmother! She was in vaudeville, and if you think about how vaudeville people dressed, it was very shiny and velvet, with vests and a lot of bling.
“He used to love to play in our grandmother’s chest where she had all of her outfits from that era, and he would put on the vest and just thought that was so cool. If you look at how his fashion evolved when he became older, a lot of it is taken from that vaudeville style. I think being artistic isn't just about drawing or writing, or having a good eye for art, it's understanding the beauty that's all around you and being able to incorporate all of that into yourself; to reflect it in different ways. He did that through songs, through the music, but also his dress.
“When Jimi got out from the backing bands where he was wearing suits, when he was told what to wear, he was able to unbutton his shirt and wear silk and velvet and just have fun with fashion. Lots of color. Sometimes you look at it and think, “Wow, that doesn't actually match, but it looks really good." I think we've even seen designers today, Valentino or John Varvatos, who did lines of Jimi-inspired wear, and you see that style all around you now. Part of it's taken from military wear, yet very colorful. He was just his own person. He didn't care. He didn't want to conform to what everyone else was doing.” —Janie Hendrix
Above, Jimi Hendrix, 1967, © Authentic Hendrix LLC