Joni Mitchell Talks Fashion in New York Magazine Interview

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Photo: Norman Jean Roy for New York Magazine

Joni Mitchell’s landed the cover of New York Magazine’s spring fashion issue, and the accompanying interview is as weird as her career is long. Mitchell comes off as slightly crotchety, but the kind of crotchety that you love and forgive when the person is amazing and has earned the right to act however they damn please. Although the conversation steers mostly towards music, Mitchell does not hold back in regards to anything, including her recent stint as a model for the Saint Laurent spring ad campaign photographed by Hedi Slimane. “He did shoot me in very harsh light, but we haven’t had any complaints about it,” she says, about the photographs. “Maybe it was even good for the culture. Who knows? A 71-year-old fashion model with overt wrinkles because of the bad light.” Of Slimane’s clothes, Mitchell is equally as forward, “[the clothes are] not innovative, but really good to wear, the kinds of things I’ve worn at one time or another in my life.”

It turns out she has been wearing Saint Laurent, well, Yves Saint Laurent for quite a while. Mitchell tells writer Carl Swanson that after she was done doing the “hippie thing,” she started wearing Yves Saint Laurent and more expensive designers, including a quilted Chanel bag that actor Warren Beatty—who allegedly pursued the singer without success—declared “an unbecoming purse for an artist,” probably the most amazing neg ever uttered by a classic pick-up artist. Although it’s a statement that reflects attitudes that women encounter to this day, you can’t possibly be a serious professional anything if you have an interest in fashion, which is superfluous and unimportant.

Photo: Norman Jean Roy.

Other incredible tidbits from the interview include David Crosby’s assertion that Mitchell is as “humble as Mussolini,” and her weird comparisons of herself to a black man. Her most recent project, a four disk boxed-set entitled Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced, was released earlier this year; it’s not a greatest hits record as much as it is a selection of songs that Mitchell selected personally, and arranged by theme instead of chronologically so that they tell a story. And we are so lucky to still have Joni Mitchell around to tell those stories.


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