Spend some time on the social justice/feminist web — or really, just on Facebook — and you’ll likely come across this image featuring Iggy Pop in a halter dress, toting a Lady Dior snakeskin bag. It’s inspiring, to be sure, and certainly sounds like something Iggy would say; if there ‘s an American rock and roller who would probably wear almost anything (or nothing), it’s him.
Like many popular quote-and-image memes, though, this one is a composite of truth and a little fudging or wishful thinking. The photo is for real, of course, a collaboration between Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson and stylist Bill Mullen. The shoots arose out of an assignment for a spring 2011 spread in the New York Times’ T fashion supplement. Shot mostly in 2010 and dubbed “Ballad of a Thin Man,” it also featured similar images of Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Dave Gahan, and more.
When the shoot for those initial images, with Iggy in normal menswear, went swimmingly, Jansson and Mullen decided to spin off the entire thing. A series of new shoots with many of the same performers turned into an exhibition called Dum Dum Boys, curated by Greger Ulf Nilson at Stockholm’s Gun Gallery. And yes, the Iggy images in a dress were shot in his adopted hometown of Miami!
The bad news for lovers of this meme as it stands in 2012/2013 — none of these projects were accompanied by printed interviews, and this ostensible Iggy quote is impossible to verify. The good news? Clearly, he’s not ashamed to wear women’s clothing, because, um, he’s wearing a dress in the photos — and, if you’re a super fan, you can still track down an entire book of the Miami portraits by Jansson.