Home » A closer look at Stevie Nicks' iconic style, Rumours album longevity

A closer look at Stevie Nicks' iconic style, Rumours album longevity

2013-0615-plain-dealer-coverStevie Nicks’ Fleetwood Mac ‘uniform’ as sweet as the sounds from the band that hits The Q on Saturday

Fleetwood Mac 
When: 8 p.m. Saturday. 
Where: The Q, East Sixth Street and Huron Road, Cleveland. 
Tickets: $49.50-$149.50, plus fees, available at the box office, at Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 1-888-894-9424. 

It’s one of the most iconic album covers of its era. Mick Fleetwood, all 6-foot-5 of him, stands in regal ponytailed profile over the dancing figure of Stevie Nicks, a full 16 inches shorter.

The Rumours album, recorded in 1976, released in 1977 and reissued this year — that anniversary is the basis for the tour that brings the band to The Q on Saturday — has a Victorian ballet feel to the cover, partly inspired by Fleetwood’s poufy shirt, breeches and knee-high socks and partly by Nicks’ deep-black toe shoes.

The singer’s flowing black dress, with its diaphanous cape and below-the-knee skirt, wafts in the wind of a photographer’s fan, and seems as if it could take flight all by itself. It’s a look cultivated by the sultry singer, one that matches the ethereal tonality of her sometimes husky but always sexual voice.

The toe shoes, though, are a bit of an anachronism, said Meredith Rutledge-Borger, assistant curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. That’s because Nicks always — well, clearly almost always — wore boots with 3- or 4-inch heels, just to give her more height onstage.

That dress hangs in the L.A. exhibit in the Rock Hall, and it’s one of seven pieces of stage-worn clothing donated by the superstar who, along with her band, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Most were donated by Nicks herself, who had a huge hand in creating her look along with designer Margi Kent.

Nicks described that look in a 2001 interview with a Massachusetts radio station:

“I developed [my clothing style] before the ‘Rumours’ album with my designer, Margi Kent, that I met in the first year of Fleetwood Mac,” Nicks told the station.

“I told her, ‘I need to have a uniform. We have to think of something that looks good. [Kent told her] ‘We can make three skirts, three tops, and have your shoes and your little, you know … a couple of wraps and jackets and you’re ready to go.’ And that’s what I did.

“And the outfit that’s on the ‘Rumours’ cover is exactly the same outfit that’s on the ‘Shangri-La’ cover. It’s the same outfit that’s on the ‘Bella Donna’ cover,” Nicks said. “It’s a timeless outfit, and it has made my life much easier because I don’t ever have to think about it.”

It definitely is a look unique to Nicks herself. Rutledge laughed and recalled a scene in the movie “Sid and Nancy.” In the 1986 flick, Chloe Webb starred as Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, played by Gary Oldman. In this particular scene, Webb is forced to borrow some of Vicious’ mother’s clothes, and catches a glimpse of herself.

“Look at me! I look like [expletive] Stevie Nicks in hippie clothes!” she exclaimed.

Maybe so, but there’s no denying the beauty in the outfits, nor is there any denying that they really reflect the soaring musical turn taken by Fleetwood Mac after Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the group on New Year’s Eve 1974.

“She is a very romantic and mystical person,” said Kent in a telephone interview from her Los Angeles studio, “so she wanted something that had kind of a historical feel, something that would be like a fairy tale a little bit, but also something in the dark colors so it would be rock ¤’n’ roll.”

The look was developed in concert — if you’ll pardon the expression — with Nicks, Kent said.

“I design for the whole,” said Kent, asked whether she put together Nicks’ look from the boots up, or the hair down. “She’s very tiny, she’s only 5-foot-1. She needed to have that sweet, delicate part of her as well as being the roaring hard-ass rock ‘n’ roller.

These dresses, created specifically for Stevie Nicks by Los Angeles Margi Kent, hang on view in the Rock Hall. Most were donated by Nicks herself. (Scott Shaw / The Plain Dealer)
These dresses, created specifically for Stevie Nicks by Los Angeles Margi Kent, hang on view in the Rock Hall. Most were donated by Nicks herself. (Scott Shaw / The Plain Dealer)

“When she wears chiffon, it hangs lean and soft and sensual, and the wind moves it,” Kent said. “But when she opens up the ‘Rhiannon’ sleeves and plays with the skirt and has a lot of movement, she becomes large and big and very strong.”

Kent, who also designs for Neil Diamond, said she is inspired by the music of the artists with whom she works.

“What I try to do is pull out from [the clothing] what I feel from the music they’re projecting,” she said. “If they’re touching me in a certain way, that’s how I try to project their visual for the audience.”

And it works. The look almost perfectly mirrors the sound that flows from Nicks’ lips.

Call it, if you will, a perfect fit. 

Chuck Yarborough / The Plain Dealer / Thursday, June 13, 2013



Stevie Nicks




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