Roxy Music had a long history of featuring it-girl models on their album covers back in the day (Bond Girl/Mick Jagger sister-in-law Kari-Ann Muller on Roxy Music, Salvador Dali muse/David Bowie mistress Amanda Lear on For Your Pleasure, Playboy bunny Marilyn Cole on Stranded, '70s supermodel/future Mick Jagger wife Jerry Hall on Siren). And now debonair Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry is continuing that tradition as he releases his first solo album of original material in eight years, Olympia, the cover of which features a soon-to-be-iconic photo of Kate Moss.
"I wanted a cover girl for this record who could convey the glamorous notoriety of the original 'Olympia' painting," explains Ferry, referring to a 19th-century artwork by Edouard Manet that he describes as "a kind of early pin-up picture," which inspired the album's cover. "And the obvious choice was Kate Moss. Kate has long been the femme fatale of our age, as controversial as she is beautiful, and the most glamorous female icon since Marilyn Monroe."
The femme fatale didn't need much convincing. "It turns out [Kate] was delighted to do it, she was a big fan of the music, and it worked out fantastically," Ferry says.
The original 1863 Manet painting depicted a nude courtesan lounging on a bed receiving flowers from a maid (presumably sent by a male admirer), and it apparently caused quite a stir when it was first exhibited in Paris. Now Ferry is hoping that Kate's recreation for the Olympia album art will create a similar stir.
"The shoot took place at Sunbeam Studios in London, and the designer Gideon Ponte built a fantastic set, with the finest linen...the perfect bed," muses Ferry. "Shoes and dresses were flown in from Paris, jewelry escorted by security guards, flowers everywhere, a supporting cast of thousands...and everyone involved worked really hard to get the right shot, especially our photographer Adam Whitehead."
Back in Roxy's heyday, Ferry was rumored to have had affairs with several of the Roxy Music cover models (he was quite seriously involved with Jerry Hall before she left him for Mick Jagger, and he was married for 21 years to Avalon cover girl Lucy Helmore). But as far as we know, the relationship between Ms. Moss and Mr. Ferry is strictly platonic. Kate, however, has served as a rock 'n' roll muse many times before--she's lent her vocals to songs by Oasis, Primal Scream, Babyshambles, and the Lemonheads; appeared in music videos by the White Stripes, Elton John, Primal Scream, Marianne Faithfull, and Johnny Cash; and was infamously romantically linked to Libertines/Babyshambles bad boy Pete Doherty (with whom she co-wrote several songs). Kate is now in a relationship with Jamie Hince of the British indie duo the Kills, but we dare say, she and Ferry sure would make a stunning couple.
Bryan Ferry's Olympia comes out October 26.
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