Jean Woods said she’d like a hot chocolate. We sat down in the zeitgeist hub of Society Café, Jean’s expectant face observing me across the table – I look back at her indigo painted lips, Marlene Dietrich eyebrows and inquisitive eyes framed by a Vidal Sassoon haircut. Her metal knuckle duster rings expressively moved with her hands, “I’ve always been a little bit different”, the skull ring peeping out of her khaki fingerless gloves. “I always want to be in fashion, but not from head-to-toe – I like to keep up with the time. Anything which comes out, I pick out the bits which would be for me. I always did my own thing – we’re like that”. It certainly is apparent that Jean is “keeping up with ‘the time” – a black choker with singular, spherical, scarlet bead; over-sized urban black fitted jumper (very FKA Twigs) dressed with a long, striped, almost-neoprene skirt. “Yes”, confirms Jean, “There was no-one who ever dressed like I did”. I agree – never did a 77 year-old look so damn cool.
Jean is a certified style icon – since starring on Channel 4 hit documentary “Fabulous Fashionista”, she has burgeoned in popularity; her no-nonsense attitude and style even reaching Moscow, New York and Mexico – “you name it, I’ve had letters from there! Letters from people saying that I’ve changed them, that they’re becoming more modern with their outlook. Some of them reached their 50s and suddenly they thought that they couldn’t wear Dr. Martens anymore! Now they realise that you can be what you want to be – you don’t have to conform just because you’re over 50! And that’s what the letters told me”, Jean concludes, “Which was nice,” she adds with a wistful smile.
As Jean and I talk endlessly about our current loves (“Urban Outfitters…suede creepers…Freddie Mercury”), and Jean reveals more about her past loves (“twisted jeans… tortoise-shell glasses…Brian Ferry”); one can only wonder what is next for the Fabulous Fashionista. “Instagram!” Jean exclaims, as she shrugs on her coffee-coloured shaggy coat. She sweeps out of the cafe with a stream of admiring looks, which I am certain are directed towards her square-toe Dr. Martens.
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