Jordan was the public face of Malcolm McLaren and Vivien Westwood’s shops SEX and Seditionaries, inside which they plotted and unleashed Punk on the world. “The shop would never have worked without her,” claimed filmmaker Derek Jarman, for whom she became a muse after he saw her on her way to work in 1975, wearing what he described as “art history as make-up”.
She subsequently appeared in his film Sebastiane (1976), gave an iconic performance as Amyl Nitrate in Jubilee (1978) and was the subject of his Super 8 films Jordan’s Dance (1977), Jordan’s Jubilee Mask, (1977), Every Woman for Herself and All for Art (1978), and Jordan’s Wedding (1981).
She has been described by both Jarman and author Jon Savage as “the first Sex Pistol” and was referred to as such in Savage’s seminal history of the era, England’s Dreaming (Faber & Faber 1991).
As well as taking a pivotal role in the story of The Sex Pistols, Jordan was also instrumental in the early career of Adam and the Ants, managing them from 1977-81 and initially appearing as a vocalist for the band. She continued to work front of house in Seditionaries as it became World’s End, her appearance metamorphosing alongside the shop’s collections into Modern Primitivism and New Romanticism, while also managing the band Wide Boy Awake. In 1984 she left the fashion and music business for personal reasons, returned to her native Seaford on the Sussex coast, where she began a successful career as a breeder of champion Burmese cats and veterinary nurse. While she stayed out of the spotlight, her legend grew.
Recently her image has appeared at the forefront Sheila Rock’s hugely successful global photography show From Punk to the English Sea and on the front cover of Punk’s Dead by Simon Barker and Derek (Dunbar Divus 2016). Her importance in pop’s cultural history was further celebrated in Music + Fashion: Creatives Shaping Pop Culture by Kate Baron (Laurence King 2016). She has appeared in many major cultural events celebrating the impact of punk and its lasting influence during 2016, including talks at The British Library, The Museum of London and The BFI.