In 1981 MTV was born, and along with it the pop music playing obsessively over the radio and on our cassette players finally had an image to project. Rather suddenly these music videos were adding a visual narrative and alluring presence to the airwaves, every recording artist was trying to outdo the next. In this arena image instantly became as important as sound. Within the fine arts there was also a quickened pace of superstardom and celebrity previously unseen. A cult of personality sprang up around such artists as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry and new romantic tastemakers like Culture Club and Duran Duran. The pop music and visual pop art scenes were cross pollinating to a point of total equality, the music was everything, but the image was everything too.
Nick Rhodes, a co-founder of the wildly successful and influential band Duran Duran was, and remains, one of these celebrated artist/musicians. Duran Duran’s musical accomplishments are well known and well documented, international hits like Rio, Hungry like the Wolf and Girls on Film continue to jam the airways; Nick was a Pop Music Superstar. With a uniquely androgynous and flamboyant elegance Nick applied heavy makeup and ever changing hair colors, a flair that demanded attention which he received from his legion of fans and the international tabloids.
It’s no surprise that in 1984 on August 18th when Nick married a gorgeous Iowa born American model named Julie Anne Friedman that the event would be one for the ages. This spectacular event was recorded by the renowned British photographer Norman Parkinson whose images were distributed to tabloids around the world. Parkinson’s camera captured an event that is still written about as one of the most extravagant weddings of the past 30 years. The couple wore matching Yves Saint Laurent No 32 pink lipstick, Julie Anne’s hour glass figure was crystal studded in an Anthony Price white lace puffball gown and tulle headdress, and to top it off, the pair imaginatively incorporated a flock of live Flamingos. The event was attended by friends and family as well as many celebrities, while a crowd of over 400 fans, held back by police barricades, gathered outside hoping to catch even a passing glimpse of it all.
Nick and Julie Anne were close with many celebrities including Jerry Hall, Tina Chow and in particular Andy Warhol. Nick and Julie Anne would often get together for dinner with Andy at Mr. Chow’s; and while apart, Nick and Andy would often find time for one another on the phone. In one of his diary entries from 1986 Warhol perceived that Nick was being distant and muses on the topic, “He (Keith Haring) said Nick Rhodes was in town and I don’t know why Nick hasn’t called me. I know he’s been here (New York) for a while. He’s being distant”. On the occasion of Nick and Julie Anne’s wedding Warhol gifted the couple a wonderfully expressive Heart painting and dedicated it to them expressly on the reverse " to nick and Julie love andy 84."
Nick and Julie Anne divorced in 1992 but remain close and share a lovely daughter between them. Julie Anne has been extremely influential and successful as an entrepreneur in the personal chef industry. Her unique take on the culinary arts and her lively blog are accessible online at www.personalchefapproach.com