As a solo artist, member of the Jeff Beck Group, Faces, and of course, the Rolling Stones, Ron Wood has had the opportunity to showcase not only tasty fretwork but also six decades worth of edgy fashion on the world’s greatest stages.
“Yes, dear, I’m in the fashion world now!” Ron Wood says, a hint of self-deprecation in his voice. But the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist speaks the truth: Wood, who is also a respected visual artist, recently collaborated with London-based label Liberty on a line of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories emblazoned with his vibrant, colorful paintings. “Everything looks incredible,” the 63-year-old musician says of the line, Ronnie Wood for Liberty of London. “It’s a very nice complement—a natural progression from what my art says on a canvas to how it transfers to fabric.”
Though the Liberty venture signals his first go-round on the design front, Wood has long been something of a fashion maven, dating back to his days in the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces. “I always liked to think I was ahead of my time with what I wore,” he says. “In the Sixties, I used to get suits made by Kansai Yamamoto, really outrageous stuff. Later, I’d go shopping with Marc Bolan and Rod Stewart, so you know that was mad.” He laughs. “We’d try to out-camp each other. I used to have platform boots that were made out of a Moroccan rug.”
Today, Wood’s tastes are decidedly more refined. He counts Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Thom Browne among his favorite designers. Of late, he’s also had a particular affinity for John Galliano, who personally dressed Wood for a recent one-off London concert in support of his new album, I Feel Like Playing. The effort—Wood’s first solo collection since 2001, and seventh overall—finds the guitarist joined by such luminaries as Kris Kristofferson, Flea, Eddie Vedder, Bobby Womack and Faces bandmate Ian McLagan, as well as guitar legends Billy Gibbons and Slash.
On the album, Wood plays everything from Les Pauls to a Fender Jazz Bass to a Coral Sitar. But his main workhorse, both on the record and for his work in general, remains his 1955 Fender Strat—“my old faithful,” he says. Other cherished instruments in Wood’s more than 150-strong collection include a 1954 Fender Esquire, an original Ampeg Dan Armstrong plexiglass, and a black, three-pickup Zemaitis Disc Front.
Wood also employed the Zemaitis extensively at last year’s celebrated Faces reunion at London’s Royal Albert Hall, for which Simply Red vocalist Mick Hucknall replaced the absent Rod Stewart. According to the guitarist, the reconstituted band, with Hucknall at the helm, is planning more dates for 2011. “We’re gonna take the Faces out and go worldwide with it,” he says. As for what he might wear at those gigs? “Anything I look dashing in onstage is always appealing to me,” he says with a laugh. Which likely rules out Moroccan-rug platforms.