Jimmy Webb was a true New York legend. He was a creature from another more glamorous and dangerous era of New York, when everything was hardcore, scary, fucked-up, glamorous, and fab. Yes, almost all that grit that he came up with is entirely gone from our city now. But Jimmy wasn’t that bitter and he was open to the kids and the future. He was so open and great with the children of the new world. That’s why Trash and Vaudeville, the store he ran on St. Marks Place for so many years, managed to survive as long as it did. Because the kids still wanted the authenticity that Trash and Jimmy were serving. He ruled over one of the last truly authentic spots in New York, a place defined by an ass-crack-showing, animal print–covered, tighter-than-humanly-possible belief in rock and roll.
I don’t have what it takes to wear anything from Trash and Vaudeville so I was never a client of Jimmy’s. Me wearing tight low rise animal print Tripp NYC pants would be like Chris Farley in a thong in that SNL Chippendale’s sketch: totally ridiculous. But when I discovered styling and wanted to be a stylist, I knew that Trash had magic for me to use in my looks. So I met Jimmy as a pushy stylist kid wanting Trash fashions for one of my first photo shoots, which is how I met so many amazing people in New York. Just showing up and trying to figure your thing out. There was so much attitude in that store, wow, but they were cool and we got along. Jimmy believed in me way before I believed in myself at all, and he gave me so much wisdom about all the levels of rock and roll. I’ve used so much stuff from Trash over the years in editorials, tons on Rihanna, tons of little bits and big moments over the years.
Jimmy made me feel like I was his favorite stylist, but I’m guessing he made a lot of people feel that way. Even if I had all the major runway shoes from every fashion show for a shoot or a video, if I was in New York I usually went to Trash to find some shoe or other with authentic grit. I’d go in and grab Jimmy from the store’s second floor, and we’d laugh and catch up on life while shoe shopping in the basement. Sometimes I’d just go over there to say hi and we’d smoke and gossip. We would talk about life and New York and fashion, and we’d bitch and laugh some more. Standing on St. Marks with him for 10 minutes, he would run into tons of icons from the village and 13-year olds coming for gear, and he’d treat everyone the same. Rihanna’s looks for the 2014 Monster tour were inspired in many ways by Jimmy, just because I was hanging around the shop and shopping there at the time. Onstage she wore Tripp pants I created with great help from Jimmy for the tour, and we had so much fun collaborating on the best ways to turn Rihanna’s stage look into a St. Marks fantasy that summer.
My favorite memory of what a great guy Jimmy was goes like this: There’s an amazing Trash and Vaudeville advertisement from 1986 of a girl wearing a Trash and Vaudeville t-shirt working out at the gym. I was styling Aymeline Valade for i-D about 10 years ago, and I wanted to rip off the look from that ad. I went to Trash and bought their logo tee at the shop, but Jimmy was wearing a beat up old trash tee and that was the one I really wanted to put Aymeline in. I was prepared to beg him to borrow it, but I didn’t have to. He just ripped it off his back and lent it to me. That’s the kind of guy he was. He would give you the shirt off your back without even thinking about it.
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