Jade Jagger: Turbulence in first class
Once the epitome of West London cool, where is Mick and Bianca's daughter now heading?
Sunday 11 February 2007
Passengers travelling first class on a Virgin Atlantic flight from New York to London last week could have been forgiven for wondering which decade they were travelling in. There was Jagger, lounging with a posse of attractive friends. There were several bottles of wine - and then there were not. There was riotous behaviour, "falling down in the aisles, climbing over seats, pointing at people and talking about them aloud", according to one passenger. There were the famous lips, pouting as the entourage was ticked off by the exasperated flight attendants.
It could have been any one of a number of Jaggers, tucking into the bubbly and living it up in the aisles. But this time it is Mick's daughter Jade who has made the headlines with her decadent ways. Recently, it often is.
After the incident, Jade's spokeswoman primly told the press: "Jade has a fear of flying and often has a drink before she boards a flight to calm her down. While she had fun with her travelling companions, she did not realise her talking and laughing would cause offence..."
For Ms Jagger, it must be hard to understand all the fuss. A bit of high jinks in the clouds must seem tame to a woman who had Andy Warhol as a babysitter, smoked pot at a posh New York day school, and now jets to Ibiza for a bit of a quiet time.
But Jade has worked hard to be more than that - to rise above her background and amount to more than a wild child. She is said to be driven and independent, and has worked hard to forge careers as an artist, model, jeweller and designer.
Jade Jezebel Jagger was born in 1971, five months after her mum, Bianca - in a skin-tight white trouser suit - married her dad. She spent much of her childhood with nannies in Manhattan, before she was sent to board at St Mary's School in Wiltshire in a doomed attempt to tame her. "OK, it's displacing for a child that your mother or father comes home before or after Studio 54," she recently said, playing down the sheer weirdness of life with one of the world's most famous rock stars.
Mick and Bianca divorced when she was seven. Jade insists that she loves the "big, extended" Jagger family - she shares her father with six half-siblings - and it wasn't until she had children of her own that she started to question any flaws in her own upbringing. Jade's daughter Assisi was born when she was 20. Amba followed three years later. "I had both my children at home. It came naturally to me," she said. "My mother didn't find motherhood easy. I've heard her saying that. She didn't breastfeed me. I woke up when I was breastfeeding my own child thinking, 'How can a woman feel an attachment to a child without breast-feeding?'"
During Jade's childhood, Bianca was something of a jet-setter herself, hanging out at Studio 54 or dating Democrat politicians. Now she is a member of Amnesty International's leadership council and the Twentieth Century Task Force to Apprehend War Criminals while Jade designs pod-style bathroom accessories and hosts wild Ibiza parties. Yet Jade has emulated her mother in both guises. In her serious times, she settles down and links up with respectable institutions such as the Crown jeweller, Garrard. In her wild times, she hangs out with Kate Moss's Notting Hill set.
It was during one of the wild times that Jade met Piers Jackson, the father of her children. She was 17, and had just been expelled from school. Her father packed her off to Italy to study Renaissance art, but on the plane she met Jackson, an art student. At 19, she was pregnant. The eight years that followed were stable, but then she left Jackson for the artist Euan McDonald, and took the children to live with him in Spain.
Within a few years she was back, and partying hard with Kate Moss. When her relationship with McDonald ended, Jade formed a complicated relationship with Moss's ex, Dan Macmillan. The threesome were often seen on the party scene, until Macmillan and Moss took a secret trip to Venice and Jagger dumped him. Macmillan became known as "the Vulgar Viscount" and Moss received a handmade necklace, prettily spelling out "Slag". The girls are now friends again. The boy has taken to squiring around Jade's little half-sister, Lizzie.
Eventually Jade settled down again, with her current partner, the nightclub DJ Dan Williams, and they moved to a farm in Ibiza with solar power, a water recycling unit, organic veg and goats. She was appointed creative director to Garrard, and she blinged up the venerable old diamond merchant - a bit too much for the regulars, some said.
But just as it seemed that Jade had got the wild child out of her system, she gave an iconoclastic interview. "I do wonder why modern society has made monogamy the one and only option," she mused. "In England, it's always, 'Are you with him, or him?' Perish the thought it might be both." Shortly afterwards she was seen skipping into the hotel room of the American rapper Pharrell Williams. "I like to see myself as single," she had said.
Since then, all has not gone swimmingly. Constant rumours surround her creative directorship at Garrard: a spokesman said last week that negotiations are ongoing and "she is not under contract to us" right now. Stories emerged that she had stood up a breast cancer charity at three days' notice. Last September she was criticised by children's charities for taking her daughters, then 14 and 11, to London Fashion Week in frocks with plunging necklines. After a photoshoot last year, it was leaked that she had behaved oddly, "prancing around between shots in a tiny G-string".
Jade is no longer a prized model for Pretty Polly tights, butmodels underwear for Debenhams. At a recent assignment for H&M, one of the daughters got more attention. Her sister Lizzie is now the more successful model.
Last year she launched a range of loft-style apartments with Philippe Starck. Her reputation for arrogance was not dented when she announced: "I think a lot of people look to me as a sort of lifestyle icon." One young man who met her recently told me: "She is not the most approachable person. We had a cordial chat for a minute or so, but then she decided it was time for me to go. And not in a 'I must find my friend' sort of way. She made it clear that I was the one that was going to be the one doing the clearing off."
She lives where she likes, with whom she likes, wearing what she likes - or not. She is a frequent traveller between London and New York, where work is to be found, and Ibiza - the constant true love of her life.
The latest setbacks, while embarrassing, are unlikely to be more than another strange phase in the life of Jade Jagger. A recent incident suggests that such fluctuations amuse her. She and her friends had arrived to take their table at a trendy London restaurant. A waiter received them, looking disappointed. "Oh," he said. "We were expecting Jade Goody."
"She took it quite well," a witness reported. "Mind you, her friends were in hysterics - there wasn't much else she could do."
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