Isabelle Cornish. Photography: Ryan Kenny. Styling: Paul Bui.
Cora Keegan photographed by Jason Lee Parry. Styling by Paul Bui. CAMP S/S 2014
Neneh Cherry and i-D have a longstanding friendship. When i-D was in its infancy, Cherry was on hand helping publishers Terry and Tricia Jones staple the early issues together. Since then the Swedish chanteuse has had quite a colourful career. In her teens, Cherry dropped out of middle school in New York City to return to London and front several punk bands. Alongside immersing herself in the Bristol drum and bass scene (legend has it she helped bankroll Massive Attack), Cherry carved her own solo path with her lauded debut album Raw like Sushi. The lead single Buffalo Stance would go on to capture the style of the time, embodying the spirit of Ray Petri’s ingenious fashion house. Two more albums soon followed, as well as Cherry lending her voice to several collaborations (including tracks with Pulp, Cher and Gorillaz). But it’s been 18 years since the last solo record. i-D catches up with our old friend to ask why the long pause?
You’ve had a very worldly upbringing. Which place feels most like home - New York, London or Sweden?
I think they’re very different connections. In London I’m always going to go there for the creative source. I have my tribe there. I miss New York like I miss an old lover. I think once that city has gotten under your skin it’s hard to let go. I use it a lot as a landscape when I’m writing lyrics. And then Sweden – that still is my family home. It’s a place that doesn’t really change that much. That’s the kind of heartbeat.
This is your first solo record in 18 years. Why the extended pause?
To tell you the honest truth, I don’t really know why. It’s not that I can’t be specific, but I just know that I’m here now more than ever. You know, I’ve been working, I’ve been writing, I’ve been doing stuff, but I suppose I just wasn’t in a place where I really was able to release something … it just wasn’t time. I took a left turn and I chose to come off the treadmill, and here we are.
Four Tet produced this new album and Robyn makes an appearance. What was it like working with them?
Robyn is a beautiful goddess and I love her very dearly. We had a fantastic day when we did the track in her studio in Stockholm. Working with Four Tet was also really amazing. He has a very pure way of recording music. I wouldn’t say puritanical by pure, I mean that he just wants to go in and capture what’s happening there in the moment rather than layering something up fifty million times and bypassing the original spirit of the record.
And what exactly is that spirit?
Well the new record is a series of ten songs that I’ve written – some just by myself, and some with Cameron McVey and Paul Simm who I did a whole writing spell with. It’s very fierce but connected into the ground. It’s tough, beautiful, it’s kind of organic but it’s also roughneck electronics.
Your classic hit Buffalo Stance is such an iconic song; do you ever get sick of getting requests to perform it?
If I were forced into being in a karaoke relationship with my old songs, where I didn’t have other things going on, maybe it would be difficult. But to me they’re just wonderful little gems of my life. I really have to appreciate that they still carry on and that people are still interested in listening to them.
That Buffalo aesthetic, championed by you, Ray Petri and his collaborators in the late 80s is still very relevant today. It was a big influence on designers, stylists and magazines like i-D. What was it like being part of that scene?
We were all really good friends. I remember Ray and myself put together a gang of Buffalos to go on a freeform modelling trip to Japan that was quite nutty. Ray was really someone that made me look at myself, and taught me in a very natural way about style. In a video that Mark Lebonwas shooting, he put me in an Azzedine Alaia dress with trainers, and I was like “Yeah, this feels kind of good!” It was a style based in something that I recognized and knew. That’s why I still think it’s timeless, it’s classic – it’s the street.
Did you know you were a part of something special while it was happening?
I think during times when things are going on, you don’t sit around agonizing or analysing the fragments of what it’s about. You’re just doing it. It was really a time where it was about breaking down the boundaries and it was quite - may I say - revolutionary, without us knowing or thinking about it in that way. But it [Buffalo] was a bit like “Up yours! I’m just gonna get up and get on with this and unload.”
Do you find that over the years you’ve acquired a whole new audience for your music?
I hope so, and I hope that I’ll continue to make new friends through music. It’s difficult for some people because I’ve always changed a lot, without trying to. I suppose that I’m always following slightly different threads. But if you listen to what I’m doing now, I think there’s energy of other things that I’ve done. It isn’t Buffalo Stance or Seven Seconds; it’s a new sound but I hope it reaches new people.
Text Paul Bui
Photography Mark Lebon
Styling Judy Blame
Hair Johnnie Sapong at Jed Root
using Leonor Greyl
Make-up Camila Fernandez using YSL
Nail technician Marie Isabel at the Book Agency using Chanel autumn/winter 12 and Body Excellence Hand Cream
Photography assistance Catalin Plesa, Rory Cole, Maxwell Tomlinson,
Liam Hart, Pedro Paz Lopez
Hair assistance Ranelle Chapman
Post production Cat the Man
Backstage photography Tom Ryling
Special thanks to Maud Kealey
Photography by Petra Collins
Words & Styling by Paul Bui
On a beautiful sunny day in Miami I catch up with Lily Cole as G-Star prepares to announce her as the new face of their upcoming campaign. Upon meeting her, I’m greeted with that heart shaped face and flaming hair that was so prevalent in the 2000s when the fashion world was enamored with a Pre-Raphaelite look. It’s a face that blazed magazine covers the world over and ruled runways from Cacharel to Chanel. But Lily Cole is not your typical model. The British beauty has certainly had a phenomenal career – first in fashion, then in film. Yet it’s the technology realm that she’s seeking to conquer with an endeavor that’s as altruistic as it is pragmatic.
“I actually feel weirdly most connected to the technology world right now,” she tells me when I ask if she still has a strong relationship with fashion. “But I don’t feel married to any one world and I quite like that. I still have lots of friends I collaborate with in fashion. And I go into the film world obviously for work. But technology has increasingly become a more political world. I feel I cross-pollinate between them and they cross pollinate one another because there’s an underlying intention that can be seen in all of them.”
The technology that Cole is talking about stems from an idea she had in university. The premise was to build an online social network that fosters a kind of cultural giving and receiving. Users can post things they would like help with or things that they can do, and then the platform reveals people who either live nearby or people they already know who have the skills that match this need. It’s a simple yet clever concept, which has already been rolled out in England under the domain Impossible.com. Similar to Wikipedia (whose founder Jimmy Wales is helping Cole on the project), Impossible.com is based on the model of a gift economy.
“We have to keep making it better, and spreading the word and making the community stronger and more responsible. But overwhelmingly we’ve had a very positive reception to it and people are actually using it now in London. I’ve heard quite a few happy stories in the last week of it helping people.” What are these happy stories? “Little things mostly. A friend of mine who is a screenwriter offered very last minute to host a workshop. We put it on Impossible.com – within 12 hours we had a room full of 20 to 30 people, and he gave a free workshop to them talking about screenwriting. It was awesome. And while I was there I met a girl who came up to me after, she was chatting to me, and was like ‘I’ve got to run, sorry, but I’m giving someone a tour of London through Impossible’ – somebody had wished for a tour of London and she’d offered to do it. It was very sweet.”
As sweet and simple as it may seem, Cole has spent the last two years working on this project. It’s difficult to imagine many models having the patience and intuition to develop such a philanthropic platform. But Cole is different. Even when she was discovered at the age of 14, walking around Soho in London, the idea of quitting school to travel the world modelling was never an option. “I was a bit tentative about it [modelling] at first but then I got into it and even in my active years – probably 15, 16, 17 and 18 – I was always studying. I was quite geeky so it just landed itself that way.”
In her formative years, Cole worked with some of the world’s most renowned fashion photographers from Steven Meisel to Irving Penn. Her distinct doll face landed her campaigns with Chanel, Hermes and Longchamp, all the while fronting covers for <i>Vogue<i>, <i>Numero<i> and <i>Interview<i>. While modelling allowed her to travel the world and reap new experiences, Cole has always had a strong interest in the arts. Her mother was an artist and drama had always been one of Cole’s favorite subjects at school; acting seemed like the natural transition. “I think there are things from modelling that have helped me with acting on a very practical level,” she says. “Being comfortable in front of a room of people and a camera is quite helpful. But in terms of a craft, they’re very different. With modelling you’re not really digging into a character, there might be a feeling to it but it’s a lot more reactive and I’m just trying to absorb what the photographer wants, and capture that. Whereas when I work on a character, I’m really trying to find that character, I’m really trying to sculpt a person.”
No doubt drawing from her own character, Cole made her acting debut as Polly the geek in the 2007 teenage comedy <i>St Trinians<i>, a remake of the 1950s classic. But it was her first leading role as Valentina – in Terry Gilliam’s 2009 film <i>The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus<i> – which cemented her place as a serious actor. Various roles soon followed with a brief stint on stage at London’s West End Old Vic theatre. Despite Cole throwing herself into acting she hasn’t completely abandoned modelling. In the new G-Star campaign – which she stars alongside Chess pro Magnus Carlsen – Cole looks as strikingly beautiful as ever. If anything, her new passions seem to have added more depth to the campaign.
I wonder then, whether being more than a pretty face creates a better picture. This idea comes as no surprise to Cole who has a theory about models who succeed through their personality. “I think it’s not a coincidence that most models who have been successful in the past, have quite interesting personalities and you can see how they attract people to continue to work with them,” Cole says. “I wonder if it’s obvious maybe in the past few years you get more of a sense of girls’ personalities because they have personal mediums to talk through. It’s more self-evident, because social media makes girls who are both interesting and beautiful become more of a brand of themselves.” An astute observation and perhaps a theory that’s applicable to herself.
Jemma Baines photographed by Byron Spencer. Styling & creative direction by Paul Bui. Feat. Emma Mulholland FW 14
Dion Lee Pre-Fall 14 lookbook. Photography: Justin Ridler. Styling: Paul Bui. Model: Marnie Harris.
@corasface is everything. (at Russian River, Guerneville). Photo by Paul Bui
Tavi Gevinson photographed by Nick Hudson. Styled by Paul Bui.
Enter Marc Alary’s world, and you will meet a menagerie of creatures. Jewel-encrusted monkeys swing into battle, grasping at yellow sapphire bananas, while cheetahs race around in circles, chasing tail in an endless golden band. Now based in New York, Alary grew up in the South of France where his encounters with exotic wildlife were somewhat limited. Yet through daydreaming and a fascination with all things flora and fauna, his very original label was born. Despite its ingenuity, Alary is the first to admit that it hasn’t always been smooth sailing—being a younger player in the fine jewelry game has its challenges. But some good news came very recently, when Alary’s beautiful work was recognized by the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, who awarded him with the runner-up spot, along with $100,000. The earnest designer was still riding high off the accolade when Interview caught up with him at his studio in Manhattan.
PAUL BUI: The new collection looks beautiful. It’s so nice to see the pieces up close. Is there a reptilian theme going on here?
MARC ALARY: In this collection I really wanted to explore some animals that I wouldn’t necessarily explore, especially reptiles and crocodiles, which I have a phobia of. I read a book about this artist who started to collect insects, which he had a huge phobia of, and he pushed himself to do it. I said, why not do it for myself.
BUI: Have you always had this fascination with animals, even from a young age?
ALARY: Yes, absolutely. My mom’s a real animal lover. She had all these magazines and books full of all kinds of animals, lots of National Geographic. So I grew up surrounded by these visuals. Also, my grandmother was an antique dealer, so I grew up around all of these really interesting things. One of the things that stuck with me was her crazy collection of animal ashtrays, made of every single animal foot. It’s kind of morbid but it was so fascinating.
BUI: What sort of animals?
ALARY: I hate to say it, because I love animals and I always defend them, but she had a real elephant foot turned into an ashtray, there was an antelope, a gazelle, tigers, leopards. But it was a collection made probably in the 18th or 19th century, when this big wave of explorers went to Africa and brought back these objects—the kind of objects that locals would make to satisfy the artistic curiosity of people with 19th-century tastes.
BUI: The south of France doesn’t sound like a place where you would find a lot of exotic wildlife.
ALARY: Not at all. I think the wildest thing we ever had were cows and sheep—domesticated animals. I had one or two trips while I was growing up, to a farm or to the mountains, but nothing really special. For me it was more about dreaming about them. I’m sure if I’d grown up in a place like Africa, maybe I would not have taken such a great interest in them. It’s almost like if you dream of other countries, you have this fantasy based on their reputation. Sometimes people say to me, “I can’t believe you haven’t been on safari yet”—part of me is quite scared to do it, because it will ruin the illusion of it. I have this world where my animals are quite crazy. A lot of my inspiration comes from books.
BUI: Do you remember the first piece of jewelry or object you made?
ALARY: The first piece I made commercially was a pendant—a swan necklace for Marc Jacobs. But the very first, which I think was even better for me, was the panther ring. I made it flat, and I bent it into a ring. I didn’t even know whether it would work, and when I saw the end result, I was beyond happy. In some ways, I was blessed that I didn’t study jewelry. When designing a lot of my pieces, other jewelers would say, “Oh, it’s impossible—too much work.” So I glued stuff: wax, glue, metal, every kind of thing—but it worked—and it pushed me to go further and further.
BUI: A lot of this seems very technical. Was it all just by trial and error?
ALARY: Yeah, just thinking about it. Part of the way I function is by engineering a piece, so I spend a lot of time trying to work it out and rebuilding it—stuff like hidden mechanisms.
BUI: Your jewelry is also very playful, but it’s all fine jewelry. None of it is costume jewelry. What sort of audience have you found that really resonates with your work?
ALARY: I don’t believe in disposable jewelry. I think whenever you buy a piece, you should have the intention of keeping it forever. I don’t like to throw away things, so I like to really limit whatever I buy to the finest quality. I want my customers to really have that in mind. If they buy a piece, the craftsmanship has to be really good. We’re in a generation where the way people consume is very different from before. I see that people would rather buy a pair of shoes for $1000 that will last maybe less than a season, rather than buying a piece of jewelry you can own forever. But I’m not criticizing that; it’s just an observation of the market. I see my customer base growing slowly but surely, and I like that. People say to me “Please keep making your monkey, because I’m saving up for it!”—that’s really what you want. When you work in fine jewelry, most of your competitors have been in business for more than five generations. It’s difficult, but you have to stay true to yourself, and people really respond to that.
BUI: Tell me about the CFDA. What was it like being involved in that competition, and winning the runner-up prize?
ALARY: It’s so surreal. I would say the biggest part for me was the beginning—to be part of 10 finalists was just really amazing. And winning that prize is still really difficult for me to process! It was a tremendous experience. We met so many people; the entire community did so much for us.
BUI: I also hear you’re a big fan of Julianne Moore. What was it like having her present you with the award?
ALARY: I probably made a huge fool of myself on the night, but it was really quite funny. I find inspiration in a lot of things other than jewelry. and one of my biggest inspirations is movies. One of my favorite movies while I was studying wasMagnolia. Seeing her in that movie for some reason really touched a chord. I think everyone talks a lot about Tom Cruise’s performance in the film, but she was unbelievable! I always remember her crying in the car and thinking she was fantastic. She also has some similarities to a generation of actors like Elizabeth Taylor—real artists, real actors—she’s a real woman with a sense of fashion. She’s classy. I have nothing against actresses nowadays, but I think Julianne is the kind of person you would consider as a muse. When people ask “who would be your muse?” today, the only person I could say in the current generation of actors would be Julianne Moore. And before that, it was women like Charlotte Rampling.
FOR MORE ON MARC ALARY, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.
Photography: Nick Hudson
Interview & Styling: Paul Bui
Four years ago, it was difficult not to take notice of Tavi Gevinson. At 13 years of age, she was on the cover of many prominent fashion magazines, lauded for her exuberant style and distinct voice on her blog Style Rookie. With her lilac hair, Edith Head frames and stoic disposition, Gevinson seemed like an old soul. A young girl that perhaps knew an adult secret that none of us were in on. These days, it’s clear that this Chicago native has grown up… sort of. She arrives at the RUSSH shoot wearing a cactus print shirt from Australian label Something Else and a tattered backpack that she’s had since preschool (a phone number is still scrawled across it just in case she loses it).
Gone are the expensive designer threads and fashion talk. She’s more interested in chatting about Ghost World, existentialist writer Kurt Vonnegut and Fleetwood Mac. Like any teenage girl, she geeks out over her idols. Yet during the shoot, Gevinson is radically transformed as never seen before. She moves fluidly and on certain angles, her face - sultry one minute and angelic the next - recalls images of Hollywood starlets from eras gone by. A natural in front of the camera, it becomes evident that like the coming of age films she’s often so fond of, Gevinson too has come into her own. Now 17, Gevinson may no longer be a front row fixture but she’s just as influential as ever. Her interests have peaked past fashion as she speaks more about adolescence, pop culture, sex and politics through Rookie Mag, an aspirational online publication that prints an annual yearbook. More recently Gevinson forayed into films, acting in the heartwarming romance Enough Said alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini. I catch up with her the morning after she interviewed another one of her idols, Lorde.
Is it weird being interviewed when you’re usually interviewing other people?
It’s weirder interviewing other people, especially Lorde [from last night]. She’s 16 and we were talking about the annoying questions people ask you when you’re young. For instance when you go on an early morning talk show and they say – “Do you feel sixteen?”
It’s kind of cheesy isn’t it?
Definitely. But then when it was my turn to interview her, I was like – oh, but wait I am actually quite curious to know what her teachers think…
I hear you’re also a big fan of Stevie Nicks. What is it about her that resonates with you?
There are so many different female artists I admire. I love Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Billie Holiday and Taylor Swift. They all reflect different parts of me. But Stevie is the one where I’m like “that’s me”. She’s particularly important because I can be very sensitive and neurotic, and not particularly in an endearing way. I take everything super personally and I dwell on things. But she just takes those things and she turns them into these beautiful songs.
She makes vulnerability seem very poetic…
She does, right! I got an email in April from Stevie Nick’s assistant inviting me to come see Fleetwood Mac in Chicago. We went and I got to bring three of my best friends and my parents. We were all freaking out - the show was so good. She comes on stage alone with Lindsey, and says “There’s a little girl in the audience” and she talks about my TED Talk. And then she says “I normally only dedicate this song to family but I want to dedicate it to her.” And she performed ‘Landslide.’
Wow. Were you crying?
I was bawling. It was the best moment of my life.
That’s pretty special. You’re always looking back to the past for your references and inspiration, whether it’s music or pop culture. What is it about past eras that excite you?
I like being alive today because you have this kind of all-you-can-eat buffet of the past to pull from. Sometimes the construct of something is better in your head, the idea of being able to have nostalgia for a previous era based on “the best of”, like music and movies and all the things that survived.
Without actually living in that era…
Yeah that’s it. Nostalgia is interesting to me as something that everyone is drawn to. When you hear certain songs from past eras they can immediately bring back feelings of childhood, even if you didn’t listen to them as a child. It’s like they both have the same kind of purity.
Is this something your parents instilled in you when you were growing up?
I didn’t know that my parents liked this stuff until I discovered their records and then I was like “Why didn’t you ever tell me that you were cool?”
They were letting you discover it for yourself?
Yeah, I think that was the key. I don’t think I would have liked it if they’d turned me onto it. My dad went to Woodstock and I remember him talking about it and I would be like “Ugh. Old people…” Then a few years later I was like “Oh my God!” So I’m glad I was able to discover some of it for myself. It’s mostly because I’ve been using the internet for a very long time. Honestly, my parents didn’t know to restrict or keep an eye on what I was looking at. I could have been a serial killer. I could have learned how to make a bomb. But I just happened upon fashion blogs and good things, so I lucked out there.
What prompted you to start a fashion blog in the first place?
I was really bored with how I dressed. I was in middle school, I had tried being social and normal and it didn’t work. I wanted to go in the complete opposite direction and dress like a weirdo and be a weirdo.
Do you remember your first fashion week experience? What was that like?
It was really crazy. I remember I was really sad going home because I thought, “this is it. My fifteen minutes are up. No one will care about me after this.”
It was exciting because it was so not my world. But it was cool to be able to see the clothes in real life, especially the more theatrical shows.
Do you still feel connected to that world at all?
The things that were most important to me about fashion are still important and I think maybe the fluff has gone away. Being obsessed with fashion taught me a lot about being myself and being okay with standing out. When I think about Anna Piaggi, Isabella Blow and all these women who are so inspiring to me because they were just like rulers of their own worlds… that’s been the most important thing for me to retain.
You also received a lot of backlash back then for your blog. Your detractors were saying you had a ghostwriter or complaining that you were sitting in the front row. Why do you think that was?
I have a lot of theories. I don’t like to dwell on it too much because in general people in fashion were very generous to me. But I think for one, a lot of it was hypocritical. They thought I was too young. Yet this is an industry that fetishises youth. However because I wasn’t a tall, skinny, hot model, it wasn’t a youth they were comfortable with. A magazine editor turned to me at a show where we were seated next to each other and asked “When do you go to school?”, and I felt like saying “When do your models go to school?”
You would have been only been a year or two younger then a lot of the models there…
Oh not even. At that point I was a freshman in high school. But it’s okay for models to miss school because they’re not voicing opinions. I think part of it was that I was voicing opinions and that made me more of a threat. The internet is still a weird thing for a lot of old-school editors. I understand the instinct to be frustrated when you’ve worked for decades and a younger person is now front row. At the same time people make such a big deal about the “front row” thing.
Seating hysterics are kind of ridiculous.
Totally! Like Marc Jacobs is all front rows, and then standing. It’s not actually a big deal. And you make it worse if you give power to what that stuff means, and to that hierarchy. It doesn’t have to matter, unless you make it matter. Because that stuff is really stupid and arbitrary.
What was the moment that prompted you to stop solely focusing on fashion and talk about other topics?
I think it evolved naturally as my interests shifted. In middle school my blog was my refuge as it was a bad time for me. I would get bullied for my outfits, and then I would go to fashion week and be photographed in them – it was really weird. But then I really liked high school. I remember writing “the weird girls at the back of your classroom have become more inspiring to me than a fashion magazine.” And my favourite fashion magazines are the ones who do remind me of that girl. But this is a common pattern in people who find any degree of success at a young age - you find yourself searching for some kind of sincerity later on. So for the past few years with starting Rookie, there’s been a bit of that. You just want something pure.
I love Rookie. There’s not much online or in print that is similar to Rookie. Did you find a gap in the market and try to fill it? Or is that something that just unfolded again, through your own interests?
It’s both, but it’s mostly the first one. Because it all feels perfectly natural, it feels like what I would want to do no matter what the landscape looked like.
With the print landscape changing so much, do you think you’ll continually print one yearbook every year?
No, I want to do four total – so that there’s one for every year of high school. I’ll be almost 20 by the time the fourth book comes out. So I think I’ll oversee Rookie for a very long time, but I’ll probably cap it off there.
Even in your 20s and 30s, would you still want to be reaching out to a teenage audience?
I don’t know. I think in some ways it’s a really fascinating time in a person’s life. Age and experience will give me a different point of view on it, and that’s interesting to explore. No matter what, if I continue into adulthood to talk about adolescence and being a teenager, I hope to make sure it’s in a way that is thoughtful and levelheaded and not in a way that covets youth.
I saw the film Enough Said last night. I thought it was very funny. This is your acting debut. You seem so much more confident and assured than your character Chloe. Where did you draw that character from?
Well one thing I liked about fashion was that you can use an outfit to channel a different part of yourself. So for Chloe I didn’t feel like I had to look too far. Especially because it was my first time on a film set and I did feel shy – the way she is. And I was a little nervous – the way she is. I was also going through a weird time in my life because the book was about to come out, Rookie was a year old, things were just getting to a new kind of level. It did make me want to draw back a little bit. I think that helped.
It was also James Gandolfini’s last performance before he sadly passed away. What was it like working with him?
He was very warm and very kind. He wasn’t like this big presence where he commands a set. And he actually kept telling Nicole [the writer/director] throughout the process: “I don’t think I can play this guy. He’s supposed to be handsome and charming - if you want, I can call Alec Baldwin?”
But he was so good!
I know, he’s perfect! But maybe that helps that he didn’t feel super confident. The character shows a side of him that not a lot of people saw – it was certainly not in a big part of The Sopranos. And it’s a piece of who he was in person.
Any plans for the future? What do you want to do before you’re 20?
I want to go to college in New York and I just want to continue to do what I’m doing, try as many different things as possible.
Photography: Nick Hudson
Words and Styling: Paul Bui
Make up: Kanako Takase
Hair: Taichi Saito
Photography assistant: Elliot Ross
Styling assistant: Stephanie Begg