LONDON — Christopher Gibbs, the British antiques dealer, interior decorator and aesthete who became a lodestar for Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, has died at 80 in Tangier, Morocco.
Gibbs, who was known for his bohemian, eclectic interiors and for championing shabby chic, had moved to Morocco, to a home overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, after selling antiques, art and decorative pieces from his manor house in Oxfordshire at a high-profile Christie’s auction.
Gibbs, who went to Eton but was later expelled, was fascinated by art, objects and beauty even as a schoolboy, and in his Sixties youth became a trend-setting dandy, turning heads in London in his flared trousers and flower-print shirts.
He became editor of the shopping guide in the quarterly Men in Vogue, further cementing his style credentials, and hung out with the likes of John Paul Getty Jr. and Jagger. He was a great sartorial influence on The Rolling Stones, who were in awe of his posh background, social connections and natural style.
Gibbs eventually introduced Prince Rupert Loewenstein to Jagger, and the aristocrat eventually became the band’s financial adviser and financial manager from 1968 to 2007. In the Seventies, Gibbs designed the set for the movie “Performance,” which starred Cecil Beaton and Jagger.
A man of rare taste, Gibbs stocked the Stones’ homes with antique wares and decorated Spencer House in St. James’s for Lord Jacob Rothschild. Although Spencer House is owned by Earl Spencer, Rothschild’s company has a long lease on the property, which is a few steps away from Buckingham Palace.
Jasmine Guinnness, model, designer, toy shop owner and member of the Guinness brewing dynasty, posted a photo series on Instagram of Gibbs pictured with Michael Rainey, Julian Ormsby-Gore and Nicolas Gormanston, with a caption, “Goodbye darling Christopher Gibbs, gone today on his birthday, on to his next adventure.”
Gibbs married his love of Morocco with his childhood passion for antiques in the late Fifties, when he began making trips back and forth between England and Africa. He opened his first antiques shop at the age of 20 on Sloane Avenue in Chelsea, birthplace of the Swinging Sixties and home of The Chelsea Set.
According to a 2012 article in The Times of London, that first shop was stocked with things that Gibbs described as “wonderful, but in a bit of a mess,” with taxidermy jostling alongside dining tables and royal medals and medallions. He eventually took advice from his friend Simon Sainsbury, whose family owned the supermarket chain, and learned how to clear and sort stock and build up a proper client base.
In 2000, Christie’s auctioned Gibbs’ personal collection from the family home, Clifton Hampden, raising 3.2 million pounds. Items included a dining table cut from the first piece of mahogany transported to England by Charles II’s navy in the 17th century; an embroidered Elizabethan purse, and a host of Victorian Gothic revival pieces attributed to A.W.N. Pugin.
In the days after the auction, WWD reported that Jagger was angry that he was outbid on one of the lots: The rock star was at a party at Bryan Adams’ house and bid online for a saintly statue he thought would look perfect in the garden of his home in Richmond, just outside London. Unfortunately, he was outbid by a measly $150.
For his Loewe resort 2019 collection, Jonathan Anderson created a pair of needlepoint trompe l’oeil slip-on shoes depicting feet, the toes adorned with bejeweled rings. Anderson showed them on Instagram with the caption, “Loewe resort 2019 homage to the great #ChristopherGibbs.”