White Stripes’ stylist reveals secrets of band’s pearly suits

'They're totally over the top!'

The White Stripes‘ stylist revealed the arduous process of making the band’s now-famous buttoned suits that appear on the cover of their new album, ‘Icky Thump’.

Brandy St. John told NME.COM that the idea originated when frontman Jack White saw a picture of the cockney Pearly Kings and Queens, whose suits are decorated with thousands of pearl buttons.

Jack saw the pearly kings and queens and was really inspired,” St. John explained.


“He contacted me and asked if it would be possible to make something like that for him and Meg (White) to wear for this record. I thought it was a great idea so we sketched up ideas to see what they would look like.”

St. John said that the entire process took several months and about 50 hours of hand-sewing per piece, all in a rush to prepare for the album cover shoot.

Jack first told me about idea last June.” St. John explained.

“We did the fittings in September, sketched designs in October, and started sewing in November. I had to recruit friends to help me sew the buttons so the pieces were ready in time for the album photo shoot in March. I originally thought we would need about 3,000 buttons, and it ended up being 13,000!”

St John said she did all the work in her Los Angeles home studio. She incorporated Jack‘s obsession with the number three into her designs, which is evident in the three stripes on the back of his suit and on the cuff of the sleeve. She also varied the sizes and shapes of the designs to keep things interesting.

“It was hard to commit to a design because it was kind of like getting a tattoo,” she said. “Once the buttons are on you don’t want to take them off.”


St. John said the Whites have always had a very solid idea of the looks they want to achieve.

“They’re very hands-on,” she said. “They’re very intelligent and have their own sense of style. They were really happy with how great the suits came off. They’re colourful, wild and totally over the top!”

–By our Los Angeles staff.

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