Iggy Pop borrowed his pants. Beyoncé’s mom bought a studded jacket off him for her daughter’s tour. And when Debbie Harry needed someone to zip her into thigh-high boots, he was the man for the job.
Jimmy Webb, who died this week at 62 from cancer, made his name outfitting rock royalty. An eccentric scenester with a bleached shag and painted-on jeans, he not only personified the East Village punk aesthetic, he helped keep its spirit alive as the longtime manager and buyer at rock ‘n’ roll clothing mecca Trash and Vaudeville.
The St. Marks shop, which opened in 1975, drew everyone from rebellious teens to fashion stylists craving edgy authenticity.
“It was my go-to place for jeans and motorcycle jackets but I also shopped their wholesale line for my store,” stylist and fashion designer Patricia Field tells The Post. “It’s a very unique store. It has its own sensibility. It had an identity. And, you know, Jimmy was definitely a big part of all that.”
Just like the punk-rock music that inspired him, Webb’s fashion philosophy was stripped down in its approach. “Anything pink rocks,” he once told The New Yorker. “Anything animal-print rocks. Anything skintight.”
His style, says renowned photographer Mick Rock, was “a blend of glammy, punky, rock ‘n’ roll [and] New York all rolled into one — all rolled into this wonderful, energized ball.”
Webb’s uniform — jeans, T-shirt, leather vest or jacket — was mainly custom made by West Coast fashion designer Agatha Blois, whom Webb would visit a couple times a year for the kind of stage-worthy clothes she made for the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Mötley Crüe.
“Everybody loved Jimmy. And I guess Jimmy and I probably played off each other to make clothes for him,” Blois tells The Post.
“So it was my style and his style merging to be his look. Everybody came to him for their clothes — all the rock stars. He just was there and would dress everybody.”
A fixture at the shop seven days a week, Webb’s mantra when it came to the proper pants fit was “lower and tighter.”
“He was known for helping people look hotter and sexier but be comfortable in it . . . But it can be hard to get into Jimmy’s jeans a couple years later,” jokes legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen.
Webb’s style first impressed Gruen at the 2005 funeral for Art Collins, who was Iggy Pop’s longtime manager.
“Everybody was pretty conservatively dressed, and he got up in his skin-tight leather pants with a leather vest, and I know there was some pink involved. And it was just, like, not funeral clothes. But he gave the most heartwarming speech and most loving speech that brought the whole room to tears,” Gruen says.
Despite his tough style, Webb was known for “his smile and his warmth,” says Gruen. He also loved to lavish his friends with incredible bouquets of flowers.
“Bands like Guns n’ Roses or Iggy or a number of different people would fly him across the country or around the world just so that he would be there for a gig,” Gruen adds. “The clothes were just a vehicle. Jimmy’s mission was to spread joy.”