Thoughts On Jethro Cave

by M-C Hill on 12 May 2022

SHOWstudio's fashion critic muses on the short life of Nick Cave's son, model and writer, Jethro Cave.

SHOWstudio's fashion critic muses on the short life of Nick Cave's son, model and writer, Jethro Cave.

Jethro Cave, the model, writer and sometime actor died 9 May 2022. While speculations abound, personally, speculations be damned. Frankly, this one hurt just like Stella Tennant’s news tore through my insides on 23 December 2020. He always looked incandescent, even if he didn’t. While male modeling can often unlock the doors to hell for select young men, let’s dance with yesterday to recall why Jethro Cave, the model, mattered.

At the time Jethro Cave was lazily labelled ‘interesting’ or ‘androgynous’ by people connected to fashion. In truth, he was fantastic. His primordial hipster style was fantastic. His unwashed, uncombed, side swept hair was fantastic. And his Gumby earring was particularly fantastic.

Jethro Cave by Macushla Burke

Cave represented the vanguard of revolutionary male models from the late-aughts. That collective featured Cole Mohr, Luke Worrall, Ash Stymest, Josh Beech. Cave was photographed by Hedi Slimane for his influential Fashion Diary website, which predicted Tumblr. He strode the runway for Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga’s first catwalk that featured some of those male models above. He channeled the results of when music genres collided, fashioning ‘Baggy with Grunge’ looks for McQ by Alexander McQueen in 2010. He was the rogue model who acknowledged Michael Jackson’s passing at that Comme des Garçons show in summer 09 with a single tattoo flash. He was really fucking fantastic.

These past few days, I have often thought about Jethro Cave as Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff - extreme elevations and cruel debasements included. His photographic quality represented a hardscrabble vision of glamour. There was a spectral quality to Cave’s posings - whether they be taken by … or… - certain ambiguities arose, as undercurrents echoed boy, male and female. It did not seek external validation, or acknowledgement, it just was. His power was in refracting the dark side of this industry while it could not comprehend his message.

RIP Jethro Lazenby. Thank you for being complicated.

Jethro Cave for Versace S/S 11
McQ A/W 10
Jethro Cave by Derek Henderson



Music Video: Shivers

23 September 2002
Having previously filmed Karen Elson and Melissa Auf der Maur playing a low key live set, Craig McDean captures another model performance. This time Jo Reynolds takes to the spotlight to sing Nick Cave's 'Shivers'.

Video Portrait: Jethro Cave

07 December 2009
Model Jethro Cave; one of 200 cultural icons captured by Nick Knight for the 30th anniversary issue of i-D magazine.

Gucci Sponsor Nick Cave Exhibition

21 November 2019
Gucci are the main sponsor for 'Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition'.
Back to top