Style

Charlie Watts’s stylist William Gilchrist on the Stones drummer’s life and magnificence

Time and space, the rhythm that a drummer cultivates, the silence, interrupted by a nuanced, expressive beat. Seconds, microseconds, centimeters, millimeters: Charlie Watts knew exactly how and when to act, be it in pursuit of music production or en route to have a suit made, it was impeccable.

Elegance, style, and wit are three adjectives you’ve seen in many of the tributes to Charlie Watts written over the past week. He was curious and appreciated the magic that life offered him and also the craftsmen who make our world a better place – they were a constant source of joy for Charlie and that inclusive spirit was experienced by everyone around him.

Charlie could spend hours marveling at the magnificence of artifacts in museums and galleries around the world and just as much time discussing fabrics and finishes with his tailor. His joy was always palpable when I watched him wade through the fields of color; acknowledge, feel and reflect. It was a joy that I found contagious.

To truly appreciate simplicity, one must ensure and respect quality and dedication. Charlie did. Just as the rhythm created by his drumsticks drifted, coralized and seduced with the simplest of gestures, his ability to be a whispering hurricane was unique. Its light was a glow that had the power and effect of lightning.

As a collector in a variety of worlds and objects, from civil war weapons to vintage watches and pieces from Edward VIII eyes own wardrobe. That conversation went from thoroughbred horses to Stubbs and from Charlie Parker to Wild Horses and his beloved family, and you knew you would be hanging out with one of life’s finest craftsmen.

It hurts to think that he is elsewhere now, and my heart goes out to his family who adored him. On behalf of the millions of lives he has touched, all I can say is, “Thank you, Charles”.

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