Mr Porter‘s weekly style guide “The Journal” features Lenny Kravitz photographed by Matthew Brookes and styled by Dan May.
On Mick Jagger still rocking out at age 74: “Mick can outperform a 20-year-old,” he says. “The Rolling Stones’ stages are huge. I’ve performed with them, and you don’t realise how much he is doing when you see him going back and forth and back and forth for two-and-a-half hours. So if you take care of yourself, [age] doesn’t matter. You can have two Porsches in the garage from 1964. One’s beaten up and one looks like it just came off the showroom floor.”
On the chateau: “I could easily live in that place with a mattress and a candle and a boom box. Done,” he says, his voice as youthful and resonant as the vocals on Let Love Rule. “My life has always been high-low. I’m attracted to being in the hood or being in an opulent palace. The middle does nothing for me.”
On the places he calls home: “I love [the Airstream],” he says. “It’s like a womb. You can’t have clutter in there, so you break it down – very few clothes, very few things – and you realise how little you need. My Paris home is my opulent fantasy. But I don’t have it for the sake of showing off. ‘Oh look at this.’ No, I have it because I design. So it’s really a workshop and showroom for me as well as home.”
On the loss of Prince: “Somehow Prince affected me most deeply,” he says. “It really rocked me. He passed and it’s horrible, but he really did his thing to the fullest. And I felt like if I had passed, my story is incomplete. I mean, music-wise, I’m not even close. It really made me refocus.”
On Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem: “I’m white and black, so I can talk about things from both sides,” he says. “The fact that you decide to take a knee doesn’t mean that you don’t love your country or are anti-American. It means you want there to be change. If there’s something wrong in a household, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your family. We should be able to talk about these things.”
On growing up between two worlds: “But I had two names,” he says. “In Manhattan, I was Lenny; in Brooklyn, I was called Eddie.” Ms Roker, a member of the Negro Ensemble Company, was deeply entrenched in the civil rights movement. “My mum was around all the great African-American people coming up,” says Mr Kravitz. “They were a crew. Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote To Be Young Gifted And Black, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan.”
On finding his famous aesthetic with Ms Arianne Phillips: “I was her first gig,” he says. “We created that look: my dad’s old suits and my mum’s feather boas. Arianne and I are responsible for bringing back flares, which we, well, I got murdered for. I never forget Madonna calling me [for a reference] and saying, ‘So what’s up with this girl?’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah. She’s the shit.’”
On his preference for going commando: “Do I have any underwear on now? No. Thus the problems that I incur.” In 2015, on stage in Stockholm in a mishap affectionately known as penisgate, his leather trousers tore. “I didn’t rip them,” he laughs. “They became ripped. It was fine. But it was a little cold in Sweden. I would’ve warmed it up a little, had I known.”
On staying young forever: “I have done nothing to my body or my face,” he says. “I just wash it with water. I eat primarily raw, foods that are alive, vibrating, emit energy. I eat off the land in the Bahamas.” He has his own organic farm there. (Even during the highs of his youth, he stuck to natural produce. “Weed was my vice. A natural psychedelic here or there. I never got into heroin or coke or pills.”) But, he says, “Discipline is the overall thing. I work out with Dodd Romero in Miami [also trainer to Mr Denzel Washington] with pro athletes. I’ve never felt so vibrant as I do right now.”
On dating: “No, I’ve been with people you don’t know about,” he says. “I keep it on the down low. I’ve been like really, really single for the last few months. I’m keeping it that way. They were the people for that time. Great love, great growth. But I’m waiting to meet that person. I’m waiting for the soul partner, the wife.”
On the difficulties reclaiming the heights of his epic first love: “We were mirror images of each other, male and female,” he says. “It was quite extraordinary.” Has he ever found that kind of love again? “Not that. It will never be that. I was 21. She was 21. It’s that time when you are discovering yourself, your art. It’s a very romantic time in general.” But he adds, “I hope to have a great love again. I plan on it.” They have remained “best friends”, he says.
On his daughter dating: “I’m not a jealous dad,” says Mr Kravitz. “There really hasn’t been anybody that I didn’t approve of. Maybe I’ve thought ‘meh’. But I don’t voice that. Obviously, if somebody was not a good person, I would jump in.”
On fashion: “I’m over the whole fashion thing,” he says. Right now he’s just into “denim, denim, denim”. His wardrobe has adapted to planting trees in Eleuthera and his future hobbies, ceramics, woodwork, painting and surfing. “On the island, I wash my clothes with a hose,” he says. “I have a bottle of Dr Bronner’s soap, almond. I wash my body with it, I wash my clothes with it. And then I put them on a rock to dry.”
[Photo Credit: Matthew Brookes/Courtesy of Mr Porter]