Mills liked to speak. “We used to name him the large mouth,” says Lizzette Kattan, the previous editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar Italy. “One evening we had been in Rome, working till 2 or 3 a.m.,” she says. “He’d go to mattress after which the subsequent day, I knocked on his door and he continued the identical dialog we left off that evening. I stated, ‘No, Joey let me have my cappuccino first!’ I discovered it actually enjoyable to be with him.”
Pals recall Mills as social. He preferred to hit Studio 54, although Thomas says he wasn’t the very best dancer. He didn’t have a long-term accomplice, which some chalk as much as residing by way of the AIDS disaster. :All he did was work for 20 years straight,” hairstylist Gary Evans says. “He by no means had time for a lover. He joked that he needed to marry Nelson Mandela when he got here residence from jail.”
By the top of the Nineteen Eighties, Mills slowed his breakneck editorial and runway present tempo, deciding to give attention to non-public shoppers. A brand new technology of make-up artists was developing. The disco glamour he liked was out, grunge was in. However associates say that all through his life, Mills saved any private disappointments to himself.
When he was identified with lymphoma about 10 years earlier than his demise, Mills used to say it was “the identical illness Jackie O had,” as if he had been in good (and, to make use of his favourite phrase, “fabulous”) firm, in response to his good friend Vanessa Noel, a shoe designer.
At Thanksgiving, Noel would drop off a turkey for Mills and associates. “I might have to hold it,” Evans says. “Joey would say, ‘I am a blonde. I can’t carry that!’ [I’d say], ‘We like you, however actually, decide this turkey up.'”
“He had a generosity of coronary heart,” Thomas says. And an indefatigable spirit. Mills died in New York in the course of the pandemic, and Noel remembers her final Zoom with him in his hospital room; she went makeup-free. “I instructed him I used to be a large number, however he was so excited to see me, and stated that I used to be fairly.” Later that night, he died on the age of 80.
This story initially appeared within the June/July 2022 subject of Attract. Learn how to subscribe here.