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eDitor-in-chieF / creative Director Stephen Gan eDitor Patrik Sandberg Managing Director Steven Chaiken senior eDitors Natasha Stagg Katharine K. Zarrella art Director Cian Browne Photo eDitor Nicola Kast Design Alexander McWhirter Press / events Remi Barbier Manager, Fashion PartnershiPs Michael Gleeson associate Market eDitor Julian Antetomaso associate eDitor William Defebaugh ProDUction Director Jessica Kane ProDUction assistant Wyatt Allgeier contribUting Fashion eDitors Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele Melanie Ward Nicola Formichetti Joe McKenna Jane How Panos Yiapanis Beat Bolliger Sarah M Richardson Olivier Rizzo Clare Richardson Jacob K Andrew Richardson Jonathan Kaye Tom Van Dorpe senior Fashion eDitor Jay Massacret eDitor-at-large Derek Blasberg contribUting eDitors / entertainMent Greg Krelenstein Guyton Porter / Starworks contribUting eDitors Nicole Catanese Miley Cyrus James Franco Kevin McGarry T. Cole Rachel eDitorial assistant Ian David Monroe assistant to the eDitor-in-chieF Shayan Asadi Freelance Fashion assistant Stella Evans coPy eDitors Zachary Brown Anne Resnik associate PUblisher Jorge Garcia aDvertising Manager Mandi Garcia 646.747.4545 aDvertising oFFice, italy anD switzerlanD Magazine International / Luciano Bernardini de Pace + aDvertising / PartnershiPs, sPain anD latin aMerica Roman Lata Ares aDvertising rePresentative Jef Greif 212.213.1155 coMMUnications Paul Leggieri / Purple PR 212.858.9888 DistribUtion David Renard research eDitor Lela Nargi Financial coMPtroller Sooraya Pariag assistant coMPtroller Ivana Williams aDMinistrative assistant Amber Cardullo consUlting creative / Design Direction Greg Foley interns Nicola Bernardini De Pace Brittany Bryant Jason Chandra Aria Darcella Natasha Gintowt Allison Movsovitz Simon Naschberger Tyler Okuns Erica Russell Simone Van Der Vlist

ON COVER 1: BRAD PITT WEARS SWEATER Michael kors JEANS VINTAGE levi’s BELT VINTAGE RING HIS OWN ON COVER 2: PITT WEARS SUNGLASSES MatsUDa RING HIS OWN PhotograPhy inez & vinooDh Fashion DaviD vanDewal grooMing Jean black hair warD (the wall groUP) V MAGAZINE 28

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turn up the heat

V98 Inez & Vinoodh Hedi Slimane Sølve Sundsbø Ben Toms Ben Hassett Fumi Nagasaka Yoan Capote Katy Grannan Rashid Johnson Robert Longo Bjarne Melgaard Catherine Opie

Richard Phillips Talwst Doug Inglish Philippe Jarrigeon Chad Moore Jason Pietra Simon Procter Schohaja Nicole Maria Winkler David Vandewal Robbie Spencer Anna Trevelyan Tracey Nicholson Clare Byrne Maryam Malakpour Victoria Sekrier Brad Pitt Pedro Almodovar Josh Brolin Gabourey Sidibe John Norris Paul Flynn Jesse Bravo

SPECIAL THANKS theCollectiveShift Jae Choi Stephanie Bargas Eva Harte Marc Kroop Jef Lepine Tenffteen Production Kim Pollock Yann Rzepka Jade Yee-Gorn Art Partner Candice Marks Alexis Costa MFA Production Akua Enninful Lauren Leese IMG Models Maja Chiesi Ethan Miller The Society Management Cheri Bowen Art + Commerce Amanda Fiala Annemiek Ter Linden Matthew Owyang Yael Peres Intrepid Anya Yiapanis Roberta Arcidiacono Julia Hackel Mike Damico Kira Deland CLM Jasmine Kharbanda Nyle Fisher The Wall Group Ali Bird Shannon Ryan Marissa Caputo Quinn Young Michael Newton BEP LA Lindsay Kurtz GE Projects Gabe Hill Suzy Kang Streeters Charlotte Alexa Adam Slee Lisa Stanbridge Rachel Clark Shae Cooper Mandy Smulders Daniel Weiner Premier Poppy Wall Sally Dawson Paula Ekenger Bryan Bantry Carole Lawrence LMC Worldwide Luke Miley Management + Artists Lindsay Thompson Chelsea Maloney Anita Lee Elizabeth Bolitho DNA Models Craig Lock Drag City Kathryn Wilson Sunshine Sachs Caryn Leeds Annie Ohayon Siri Garber Lisa Diangelo Melissa Raubvogel Marilyn New York Kristen Bolt Brydges Mackinney Shawn Brydges Gianina Jimenez Cheyenne Vesper De Facto Paige Domine The Wall Group Leela Veeravalli Kate Ryan Leigh Sikorski The Only Agency Kent Bent Jed Root Josephine Whittaker Vision On David Jones Standard Hotel Downtown LA Erin Woods Kasey Mckendell Paramount Studios Root Studios Quixote Studios Cambria Bacher Pier 59 Studios Spring Studios Emilija Bernotaite Aoife O’Doherty Foodlab LA M + P Models HMS Production Helena Martel Seward Fast Ashley’s Bailey Powell Ethan Rhodes Michael Abrego Justin Rose Jeny Rosenblum V MAGAZINE 32

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Fe n d i Bouti ques 646 520 2830 Fend

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no ordinary holiday 38 LEE DANIELS Gabourey Sidibe asks the producer/director what it’s like to be at the head of an Empire

42 JENNIFER JASON LEIGH The acting legend on Tarantino and her return to star status 44 V GIRLS Watch this space: each of these women has big things ahead 50 WE’RE ALL SUPERHEROES What does it take to be a hero in Hollywood? James Franco considers the controversial question 52 JULIA DREAM Julia Cumming talks life as a model and punk lead singer

60 HOUSE OF DIOR A closer look at the year’s most talked-about Cruise show 62 DEREK BLASBERG’S COUTURE DIARY Our editor-at-large recalls a week of haute madness

64 RICCARDO’S NEW YORK TRIUMPH On September 11, Givenchy made the fashion world stand still 66 MOVING PICTURES A glimpse at two of 2016’s most anticipated flms 70 THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR From Carly Rae Jepsen to Aya and Bambi, these are the actors, musicians, and dancers who made 2015 what it is

56 V NEWS Bottega Veneta looks back, Craig Green does womenswear, and the stocking stufers you need this holiday

76 BRAD ROMANCE BY INEZ & VINOODH The one and only Brad Pitt does ’70s chic and gives us a play-by-play of his new flm, By the Sea Fashion by David Vandewal

58 BLANK SLATE Start the new year fresh with It Bags as white as snow

88 2015: THE YEAR THAT WAS Nine major visual artists interpret headlines of the year

96 DIARY OF A DIRTY HIPPIE Laganja Estranja recounts an unforgettable night with Miley Cyrus and friends 98 COUTURE NOW BY HEDI SLIMANE The Saint Laurent designer photographs Ruth Bell in Haute Couture—his own collection and all the others Fashion by Sarah M Richardson 110 CRUISING WITH GEMMA BY BEN TOMS Gemma Ward is back and wearing Cruise for a rare outing on Brooklyn’s boardwalk Fashion by Robbie Spencer 120 THE PASSION OF THE CHRISTIE BY SØLVE SUNDSBØ Gwendoline Christie gears up for another stellar year of sci-f fantasy and slaying the fashion world Fashion by Robbie Spencer 128 BEYOND CONVERSATION Who doesn’t love Lucy? Our psychic checks in with Ms. Ball from beyond the grave


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10/16/15 3:43 PM Sephora



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a sweet escape

In the upcoming flm By the Sea, which stars Brad and Angelina Jolie Pitt, a beleaguered writer in the twilight of his career takes his wife, a former dancer, to a coastal Mediterranean enclave in search of solitude, marital reconciliation, and an escape from the frustrating tribulations of urbane American life. It’s about that time of year, isn’t it? As Pitt reveals in his intimate cover story, lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, the experience of shooting By the Sea (which was also directed by his better half) proved a canny impulse when it came to their own nascent union—the duo were married late last year after 10 years of commitment to one another and their famous brood of children. “Fighting to make something together,” Pitt muses, “...what better metaphor for marriage?” In the flm, the emotional tides below the surface are much rougher than the serene, seaside view would belie, but the picture is a stunning one that boasts sumptuous production design and a wardrobe straight from the stylish European cinéma vérité of the 1960s and ’70s. In a recurring motif, a pair of vintage Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses—and their subsequent treatment at the hands of the couple—come to refect the opposing frames of mind of Pitt and Jolie Pitt’s characters. The image of those shades, spinning around facedown on their lenses, works as a jumping-of point to consider the ways that we express ourselves through fashion—whether consciously or not. This is the season known as Resort. It’s also when Haute Couture orders are being placed by the rarefed patrons of ateliers from Chanel to Dior to Givenchy. Earlier this year, Hedi Slimane revealed details about the new Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture operation, through which the house of Saint Laurent commenced the creation of custom garments for a small and privately selected clientele. Now, in his frst Haute Couture fashion story since 2009, Slimane photographs pieces from 10 houses (including Saint Laurent) on his latest model muse, the angelic Ruth Bell. On the Resort side, Gemma Ward cruises Brighton Beach in


Set design Sophear Froment (Swan Management) Photo assistants Rebecca Lièvre and Ugo Vannier Retouching Hatim Elhihi (Maison de Correction) Location Studio Zero


her big V return, photographed by Ben Toms and styled by Robbie Spencer. Maybe it’s Oscar season, or maybe it’s Brad Pitt (whose other announced flm, Adam McKay’s fnancial crisis dramedy, The Big Short, is already garnering awards buzz), but we feel bitten by the Hollywood bug. In addition to our cover story, we’ve got a candid sit-down between TV’s man of the hour, Lee Daniels, and his articulate muse, Gabourey Sidibe. From musicals to Oscar parties, hookers, drugs, nerves, triumphs, and dreams yet won, their conversation runs the Tinseltown gamut and is one you have to read to believe. We also check in with the iconic Jennifer Jason Leigh, who’s ready to reclaim the spotlight in Quentin Tarantino’s new western, The Hateful Eight. Pedro Almodóvar and the Coen Brothers also share snapshots from the sets of their latest productions, and we couldn’t celebrate winter without a healthy dose of Star Wars: in a shoot by Sølve Sundsbø and Robbie Spencer, the incomparable Gwendolyn Christie spirits us to a faraway galaxy. With The Force Awakens, the new Hunger Games, and another season of Game of Thrones on the way, it’s safe to say the six-foot-plus Brit is cresting on a major movie-star moment. As she tells Paul Flynn, her trajectory hasn’t been one that any Warg, greensight, or Jedi could have ever predicted. Sidenote—if any of those terms fail to register with you, fear not: Christie’s sure to move beyond fanboy favoritism and become a great cinema staple in no time at all. Finally, as Art Basel crash-lands at its annual outpost in Miami Beach this December, we feel it’s time to get a few of our favorite fne artists to weigh in on some of the year’s biggest themes. From Taylor Swift to Caitlyn Jenner to #BlackLivesMatter and gay marriage, we’ve got all the news worth a review. But much like winter in a Resort-clad world, or Brad and Angelina struggling to save a broken-down marriage on movie screens, we promise you’ll see these familiar topics in a whole new light. MR V


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S H O P AT B A R N E Y S . C O M



T O M A S I N I PA R I S . C O M

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the force behind the year’s biggest tv phenomenon talks to gabourey sidibe about building an empire, tackling the legend of richard pryor, and finding humor in the darkness of life PHOTOGRAPHY HEDI SLIMANE

GABOUREY SIDIBE Hi, Lee Lee! LEE DANIELS Hey mama, how are you? GS We had a really good table read today. LD I saw! That’s the frst time you guys were Instagramming table reads. That was a frst. GS It was Taraji [P. Henson]’s idea. [laughs] Not that I’m snitching on her. She’s going to beat me up. It was just a lot of fun, it was lit. Thank you for choosing me to interview you by the way. LD Oh my goodness, are you kidding me? Nothing makes me happier than my Precious. GS I’m your favorite baby. LD Yes, my frst baby that I gave birth to. I still got the stretch marks to prove it, too. GS I was a heavy load. [laughs] So, for how long have you been wanting to make a prime-time soap opera? LD You know, when we did Precious we did the Oscar circuit so I had to become friends with all of the other directors: Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, Jason Reitman. We all became friends because we were all on the road. It was a unique experience, and I wasn’t envious at all of any of their work because I knew how Precious made you feel. We laughed, gagged, cried, we were shocked, we were appalled, we were saddened. None of those flms were able to make you go through the same wave of emotions as Precious. When I lost that night—which was fne because I didn’t mind losing—I came home to the Chateau Marmont and was picking Lucky Charms of the foor in my Tom Ford tuxedo. My kids were there and the place was a mess. Life sets in fast: the party is over. And I heard from the bedroom your friend singing on Glee. GS Amber [Riley].

LD Amber was singing something on Glee. I walked up on this incredible voice and honestly, it was the frst time I was envious of anything. I fnally felt a sense of competitiveness. I felt like, Wow, this is a new frontier. I haven’t seen this yet. I didn’t know that I wanted to do TV, but a musical lived in me. And then I wrote something for Showtime, a musical version of Paris Is Burning. GS Ooh, is this the drag queen one? LD Yeah, I wrote it and we never…it never…it was too deep, honey. It was too much for the children, honey. It was too much! It was fabulous, Gabby. So that was my experience with TV. I thought, primetime is never going to fuck with me, so that was it. Then Danny Strong came to me with this idea. He wanted to do Empire as a movie. And I said, No. I want to make money and I want to do it on TV. GS Do you feel as though your truth and your story were unrepresented on TV? LD I don’t think we’d ever seen anything like what we were doing. It was almost like Precious. I remember when we fnished Precious I thought, Oh my God, I don’t think people are ready to see this. It’s like a scab that’s opened. That’s how I thought about Empire. I was like, it’s too real. GS Has the response to your truth and your realness changed your mind about what is too real to share? LD Even at our recent [Season 2] premiere, I was nervous. We have Cookie, we have a gorilla in a cage. We have a gorilla, honey, in a cage, descending in Central Park. Okay? What do you do? You’ve lived this with me, Gabby. I get sick. I go, Why did I do this? What have I gone and done this time? Is my mother embarrassed? Am I embarrassing our people again? All you can do is tell the truth. I’m not afraid to tell it, but when it’s time to unveil it, I’m terrifed.

GS Remember when we were in San Sebastián and we went to that premiere and you were very, very nervous? But once the flm showed, we got a standing ovation, and then we left the theater and they saw us again and stood and clapped. Once your truth is out, you seem to triumph in it. LD What happens is you’re thrown into a tsunami because you’re vomiting your spirit, you’re vomiting your experience, you’re vomiting your soul, and then you’re drowning in it as you’re watching it. You’re drowning in your vomit. I am reborn by it. It is the most therapeutic thing to see people crying and laughing and then standing. Nothing gives me greater pleasure. It’s a very S&M experience. It’s an S&M moment, honey. GS Sexy! Now, Empire features characters from diferent walks of life with diferent experiences. It doesn’t just show one black experience. How do you pull of the depiction of this diversity of experience without seeming preachy? LD We never are preachy, you know? Ultimately, it’s TV and preachiness comes. The hard part about television is that it’s never going to be just you. You try to fnd the best directors, showrunners, writing teams, and everything, but you’re not always going to be on the ground. It takes a really experienced guy to smell bullshit or come across as not preaching. We have a tendency to try to make Cookie like Mother Teresa, and it’s like, no: she’s a drug dealer, she’s a murderer, she’s a con artist, and yet she has a heart and soul. People forget that she was all of those things and think she’s just this great mother. No. She’s got a past. She’s human. What I try to do with Empire is to hit some real-life issues but without taking ourselves seriously. You know what they say, and it’s true. The slaves that survived the journey were the ones that found humor, the ones that laughed. And I know that


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yourself in Richard Pryor? LD Let me just tell you, it’s crazy. I can’t look at any of my work anymore. I haven’t. When I get out of the edit room, it’s a wrap. Everything down to the linoleum on the foor, the fabric on the wall…my life is on this. Everything is personal. The same thing with Empire. The whole thing with Jamal, Becky, and Cookie…all those people have been etched in my brain from years of some good times, some bad times, and some very deep times. With Pryor, I relate to him because of his honesty. He got in his own way because he was so honest. I don’t know how to edit myself. It drives my publicists fucking batshit. [laughs] Pryor was the same way. He had no problem talking about his bisexuality. GS Wait, I had no idea. Really? LD He was basically straight but he had no problem talking about the fact that he slept with men. And he was coveted for it. People like the truth. Ultimately, they’re attracted to it. What I love about him, and what I understand most about him, is his feeling of unworthiness, because he grew up in the same environment that I did, except I didn’t grow up in a whorehouse. He grew up in a place where his father said he wasn’t shit and was never going to be shit, so in his head he always felt like that. He, like I, went to drugs and went dark into drugs. When Halle Berry won her Oscar and made history and she thanked me, I went home and the party was on. I went back to the Chateau and I didn’t feel that I was deserving. She called me up and I was getting high. She said, “Are you coming to the Vanity Fair party, daddy?” And I said, “I’ll be there.” Child, I had two hookers with me. I had the crystal meth pipe in hand, and I was like, I don’t deserve to be anywhere. I didn’t believe I was worthy enough to be at the Vanity Fair party. I thought I was a

fraud. That’s what parents can do to you. So I connect to Richard on that primal level; it’s never good enough, ever. I’m hard on actors and I’m hard on my crew because I’m hardest on myself. Somewhere, deep down, I do know my shit is good. You know? I have to praise Pryor because if it wasn’t for him, for me really studying him, I would probably still be on drugs. I think if I were to do them again I would be dead. There’s no coming back. I know it through Whitney Houston, who was my friend. I know it. I relate to Richard Pryor on a primal level because he found humor in the darkness, which is exactly what I do. He had his TV show, he drove people crazy, and it’s just life repeating itself with Empire. GS Being on the receiving end of your direction, I have to say, we all really, really want to give you what you want. None of us want to half-step it either. I always feel like I would not be the actress that I am, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am ofscreen, if I didn’t have you as my frst director. I think through trying to give you the best of myself, you’ve made me a better, stronger person. I think you do that to all of us. LD Thank you, Gabby. You’re making me emotional. GS Don’t get emotional. [laughs] LD Bitch, you gonna make me cry. I’m gonna punch you in the stomach when I see you. We in the middle of an interview! That was so sweet. Thank you, Gabs. GS I mean it. Even though you’re not always around on Empire, we always do remember your words and we remember what you want and your intentions—not just in the back of our heads, but in the front of our heads. We try to act accordingly, even in your absence. LD Man, I got emotional there for a second. Thank you, Gabby, I’m speechless.

Production Kim Pollock and Yann Rzepka Digital technician Alex Themistocleous (Milk Studios) Grooming Roxy using CHANEL Sublimage Photo assistants Frank Terry, Matt Hartz, James Perry Retouching Dtouch Equipment Milk Studios Location Quixote Studios Catering Food Lab

because I’m [directing] a Richard Pryor movie [Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?] and they talk about it. The minute I take myself seriously, if I’m not laughing through this pain, then something is wrong because there is laughter in the darkness. You just have to fnd it. GS Speaking of Pryor, I know you’re working on that next, and I expect my call sheet at anytime! LD [laughs] Yes, God, honey! You wanna play a hooker? We’ll call you “Carlotta.” How’s that? Ms. Carlotta, honey, in the whorehouse with Oprah. GS [laughs] Yes, God! I know you have a lot of projects you want to be doing. How did you come to decide that Pryor is absolutely your next priority? LD Because it lived in me. It’s been there forever. Richard Pryor’s wife, Jennifer, is wonderful. But I can’t keep yanking her around. If I don’t do it next, she’ll give it to somebody else and everybody and their mother will want to do it. I was supposed to do it after the pilot of Empire but I got caught up in the TV world. I didn’t know Empire would be a hit! GS Surprise! LD I don’t take it for granted. I’m not waiting for the rug to be pulled from under us. It’s all “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to me. We’re blessed and lucky if we are a success in season 2. So I’ve moved on; I’ve had to move on. My frst love is flm and I really want to get back behind the camera and just go there. It’s slower. I’m able to get what I want. I’m not under the gun. I don’t profess to be Shonda Rhimes. I think she’s great at what she does, but I just sort of lucked into television. GS I think it’s a little more than luck. I think you are a genius and I think that your truth holds more weight than you think it might. I think you were born to be successful. Do you see

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one of cinema’s finest actresses returns to the limelight in tarantino’s the hateful eight, and as she tells it, the hits keep coming

back in marquee billing where she belongs. (Stars like John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Daryl Hannah, and Pam Grier have all benefted from the “QT Assist” in projects past.) Besides Leigh, the titular Eight includes Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, and Demián Bichir, alongside Tarantino favorites Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern. “Everybody just falls in love with him,” she says of Tarantino. “He has so much enthusiasm and energy and love and care for what he’s doing, and he works so damn hard, that you want to be there for him 100 percent.” Considering that both Tarantino and Leigh gravitate toward troubled characters in dangerous situations with a raw emotional edge, it’s almost hard to believe this flm was their frst gig together. “It was even better than you can imagine,” Leigh says. “Honestly, I’ve never seen so many grown men cry as they did on their last days of shooting. When it was like, ‘Okay, that’s a good-bye to Samuel L. Jackson,’ and ‘that’s a good-bye to Walton Goggins,’ everybody made a speech. Everybody cried, because it’s the best experience any of us will probably ever have.” If it sounds like a form of cinematic Stockholm syndrome, it’s worth considering the plot of the flm: eight westerners hole up in an alpine haberdashery during a blizzard to wait out a storm. If the trailer for the flm is an indication, not all of them make it out alive. Leigh’s character, Daisy “the Prisoner,” spends the entirety of the flm handcufed to her captor, John “the Hangman” Ruth, played by Russell. “We were cufed together for six months,” she laughs. “It’s a long time! But then again, if you have to be cufed to someone I would say Kurt Russell is the number one. He knows how to throw a punch, so I never had to worry about getting hurt. I sort of had that thing where I missed being cufed when I wasn’t, you know?” A few of the Hangman’s punches in the flm, however, are aimed squarely at Daisy, who takes violent blows to the face—along with reminders of her pending execution—with a demented level of glee. “She’s quite feral,” Leigh says of Daisy. “You know the term ‘crazy like a fox’? I mean, she’s really street-smart and she’ll do just about anything to survive. The stakes are really high but at the same time there’s absolutely nothing to lose. She can take it. She’s going to be hanged, you know? So what’s a smack in the face? She doesn’t want to cry. She’s not going to give anybody that.” As luck would have it, this winter sees another prestige Jennifer Jason Leigh picture hitting theaters: the emotionally

poignant stop-motion-animated Anomalisa, written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman. (Leigh formerly worked with Kaufman on the sprawling and underrated cult drama Synechdoche, New York.) Having originated as a voice-only radio play by Kaufman and Carter Burwell 10 years ago this year, the flm version eventually found fnancing via Kickstarter. This September, it walked away with the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. With a 99 Metacritic score, it’s being hailed by critics as “a minor miracle on multiple levels,” “extraordinarily wise,” “soaringly romantic,” and “truly sad.” The flm revolves around a customer service expert convinced that everybody in the world is exactly the same, until he meets Lisa (voiced by Leigh), who lifts him out of the mundanity of his life. Leigh voices one of two leads in a cast of three. (David Thewlis voices the other, and character actor Tom Noonan voices everybody else.) “I’m in it, and I can’t get over it,” Leigh says. “The experience is almost like seeing a flm for the frst time. You can’t believe what Charlie was able to do. It’s so real, but it’s puppets. You can see the lines where they connect, where the heads connect to the bodies, and yet you completely forget that they’re puppets. And then you remember they’re puppets, and then you forget again. You keep getting drawn in, and because they are puppets you project yourself into it in a way that you can’t with an actor. It’s surreal, like you are discovering cinema, in a way.” This openness to new possibilities in moviemaking is refreshing coming from someone who’s been in the business for more than 30 years, and it appears to be paying of: Leigh just signed on to play Lady Bird Johnson opposite Woody Harrelson in Rob Reiner’s upcoming biopic of the 36th President of the United States. It’s another plum lead in a star-studded cast, an opportunity Leigh appreciates more than ever with a multifarious career in her rear view. Looking back on her breakthrough in Ridgemont High, the actress laughs about her diference in terms of self-awareness. “We knew nothing!” she says. “Of course it was this big hit and a phenomenon and you just think, Oh, that’s the way movies are. They come out and they’re big hits. That’s what happens. But we were so naive on so many levels. Then it doesn’t happen again, and you realize, Oh, maybe that is a rare experience. That doesn’t happen all the time. We really took everything for granted.” PATRIK SANDBERG


Makeup Kristina Brown (Jed Root) Hair Candice Birns (Only) Manicure Tracey Sutter (Cloutier Remi) Digital technician Maxfeld Hegedus Photo assistant Michael Cliford Stylist assistants Mia Fernandez and Fernando Pichardo

“This was coming at a time in all our lives where you just don’t take things for granted like this, you know?” Jennifer Jason Leigh is recalling October of last year, when she was announced as the lead female role in Quentin Tarantino’s rabidly anticipated highbrow grindhouse western, The Hateful Eight. By this point, the flm’s development was already the stuf of motion picture legend: in January 2014, two months after Tarantino announced the project, the script leaked online, prompting him to swiftly cancel the production in favor of turning it into a novel, blaming agents at CAA for the snafu. But following a successful public reading of the script in L.A., he decided it would be too much of a missed opportunity not to see the feature through. “Quentin asked me to audition, so I went and picked up the script and read up, but it was missing the fnal chapter,” the 53-year-old actress recalls. When she went to Tarantino’s house to audition, the two of them read from the fnal fve pages she had yet to learn. “Usually, as an actor, when you read for the director you read with either a casting director or another actor who’s termed a ‘reader,’ but Quentin doesn’t do that. You sit next to him on the couch, he holds the script, and you read it together. Already half the nerves that would be present get taken away. You’re giving it all you have, of course, because you want to do a great job for him, but you don’t have the same nerves as if he’s sitting opposite you, watching you. He’s participating in it with you and you’re having the experience with him…I think it’s just an example of his thoughtfulness and an example of how he gets the best out of everyone, because he really does.” Though Jennifer Lawrence had been rumored to be playing the wild-eyed hangman’s prisoner, Daisy Domergue, Leigh reportedly beat out actresses like Robin Wright, Demi Moore, Michelle Williams, and Hilary Swank for the role. For her part, the Hollywood veteran remains humbled by the experience. “I was just so excited to even have the opportunity to read for it.” Though widely regarded as one of the most respected actresses of her generation, having carved out a singular career since the early ’80s in flms as indelible as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Single White Female, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Short Cuts, and The Hudsucker Proxy, to name a few; recent years found Leigh taking smaller roles in ensemble indie ficks, alongside a couple of recurring (and scene-stealing) turns on the TV dramas Weeds and Revenge. Leave it to Tarantino, known for reviving interest in some of the industry’s slumbering giants, to put the actress V MAGAZINE 42

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Leikeli47 arrives on-set in a black knit ski mask, fully committed to the item that gives her anonymity while simultaneously acting as her trademark. “I go everywhere with it. Normally my response is, ‘What mask?’” she explains. “Everyone loves it. After sitting down with me you forget that there’s even a mask on.” She’s not wrong. Despite how the mask allows her to avoid fully identifying with an age, race, or gender, her personality cannot be contained. Normally this is the point in an artist’s profle where their true identity—an origin story— would be revealed. But to focus on personal details, even if I had them, would be missing the point. Leikeli47’s goal, of course, is that the audience focuses on the music and the music alone. This is perhaps most apparent when attempting to research her. People are clearly curious about the rapper, especially after her banger “Fuck the Summer Up” soundtracked Alexander Wang’s S/S ’16 runway show. But since no personal information about her is easily googleable, the resulting discussions instead detail her lyrics and beats. “I grew up listening to music in a household where I didn’t know genres existed because we had so many playing,” she says. “So you had Bowie, but you also had the Clark Sisters. To me, it’s all beautiful sounds; it’s all music. I guess that helped out with the focus: strictly on the sound of the music, not the aesthetic, not anything else. Just the music.” The emphasis Leikeli47 puts on having fun is apparent in tracks like “Heard Em Say Pt. II” and “Two Times a Charm,” while “My Ex Is a Ho” is an anthem. “It’s not about me,” she says,

explaining that energy is reciprocal between a musician and fans. “I’ve been doing music since I could walk, and I’ve always been taught that it’s never about you, it’s about the people.” Leikeli47, who has released two mix tapes and a self-titled EP, has appeared at music festivals like Osheaga and Electric Forest to fans who don ski masks in anonymous solidarity. Skrillex and Diplo even wore face coverings while onstage with her. “It was so cool looking at Diplo pull down the mask in prep for me to get on the stage,” she says of a Jack Ü concert at Madison Square Garden, during which she was invited to appear with the two DJs. “The crowd was massive. We’re talking thousands and thousands of people. No one knew my name, let’s just be real, but because of those guys, now some people do.” People may know the name and the work, but few actually know the woman. However, for all the mystery of the ski mask, Leikeli47 is transparent about her goals. One doesn’t need to see her face to enjoy her songs or her performances, so why should she reveal herself? In the age of social media, where it’s the norm to showcase a mediated identity, we don’t really know each other, either. The mask insists on a sort of reverse censorship, questioning that idea of the true self—the reveal. In so many ways, it seems to say, we’re all just as anonymous as she is. aRIa DaRCELLa



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10/16/15 3:51 PM

aymeline valade ON-SCREEN MODEL “Every time I hear about a model doing movies, I hear lots of shit about her,” says 31-year-old Aymeline Valade. Despite the recent cinematic success of fashion favorites like Cara Delevingne and Dree Hemingway, catwalkers transitioning onto the silver screen have a tough time shaking the modelslash-actress cliché. But thanks to her uncanny portrayal of Yves’s leggy muse Betty Catroux in Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent (2014), Valade is lucky, or, more accurately, talented enough to have avoided that pigeonhole. She received rave reviews from critics and moviegoers alike, and Catroux herself even applauded Valade’s performance. “She gave me a thousand compliments and I was like, Wow, oh my God,” recalls Valade. “She was a woman in charge of her future, and she’s a role model. Every day when I’d go to set, I had two words in my mind: respect and honor. That’s all I wanted to do was respect and honor her.” Wearing baggy, tattered jeans and a white T-shirt, Valade sits on the curb outside New York’s Root Studios, dragging on a cigarette. She’s as much a dead ringer for Catroux in the fesh as she was on-screen, what with her wiry frame and tomboyish sex appeal. But while they both share an enviable French nonchalance, straight blonde hair, and razor sharp jaws, their greatest similarities are self-confdence and a free spirit. Free-spirited is precisely the term to describe Valade’s modeling career, which began, she says, as a “student job.” “I studied journalism and communication, but I was doing a little modeling here and there—it gave me the opportunity to travel the world. I was making good money, I was being creative, and all my needs were met,” she explains. “After I graduated, I compared myself to my other friend, who was working at McDonalds, and I was like, Thank God.” Her student gig took her from Tokyo to South Africa to Milan and beyond. Eventually, it led her to Nicolas Ghesquière—then at Balenciaga—who put her on exclusive for the S/S ’11 season. Somewhat ironically, Alexander Wang followed suit, tapping her to open his F/W ’11 show and making her the face of his frst-ever campaign. Ad and runway work with Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Kenzo, and many more followed. While Valade’s modeling success was propelled by her anything-goes attitude, her flm career launched largely thanks to serendipity. She landed her frst major acting role— that of Catroux—by chance after meeting actress Amira Casar, who plays Saint Laurent’s frst assistant in the flm, at Chanel’s 2012 Métiers d’Arts show in Scotland. “She put me in touch with Bertrand Bonello because he was having trouble fnding somebody who looked like [Catroux] and had the attitude,” she says. “We spoke and had a few meetings, but I was kind of scared because I’m a model. I’m not an actress. It’s not my job.” Clearly, she’s gotten the hang of it, because shortly thereafter, Saint Laurent castmate Louis Garrel tapped her to appear in his directorial debut. “I was more like a guest,” Valade says of her role in Two Friends, a romantic dramedy that premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. “She doesn’t have a name—she’s called ‘Woman in the car.’ But she’s super chic, and heading to the opera in a convertible wearing pearls and a Lanvin dress and drinking a bottle of wine. It’s actually a very funny scene.” For the moment, Valade plans to shift her focus back to modeling. “I feel like a lot of people in the fashion industry think I’m more into acting. I want to remind them that I want to keep modeling,” she asserts. “I cannot be satisfed with only one mode of expression. My acting would be nothing without modeling. They’re completely diferent, but complementary, and I need a little of both.” However, when she does return to the big screen, she wants to conjure a diferent kind of character. “It would be great if the girl was a bit fucked up. I don’t want to only play the beautiful woman with attitude. I don’t want the only substance of my characters to be beauty,” she says. “I want the substance of my next character to be her mind.” KATHARINE K. ZARRELLA


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SAMANTHA URBANI DANCE MUSIC REVOLUTION “I’ve been existentially stressed out since I was seven,” says singer, songwriter, producer, and visual artist Samantha Urbani. Most recently, this stress comes from the fact that after a career of group projects and collaborations, with band Friends as well as her recent former fame and Blood Orange frontman Dev Hynes—the 28-year-old is fnally breaking out on her own with her frst solo project under her own name. While prepping her frst series of shows in her home of New York City, Urbani tells her supporting band members, “You guys are my bodyguards and you have to look tough-as-fuck and stand there and just move your shoulders and nothing else. We’re all gonna wear dirt-biking sunglasses and look just like the Terminator movies.” The “bodyguards” on the other end of this directive include Roxanne, a female bodybuilder in her 40s who, instead of singing, fexes her muscles to the rhythm of Madonna’s “Vogue”; and Juan, a 75-year-old street performer from Puerto Rico whose “haunting, romantic songs” on acoustic guitar attracted Urbani on the L train. When Urbani herself takes the stage, she is wearing a black romper and an oversized bomber jacket, with slicked-back blonde hair and biker sunglasses that she does not remove for the frst half of the show. She has the face of a young Edward Furlong (a comparison she herself ofers), the style of Michael Jackson (she has his initials tattooed on her arm), and a synthpop sound that could just as easily belong on modern radio as it could in a John Hughes movie (which she takes as a compliment). This scene—part exhibition, part dance rave, part Village People tribute—is perfectly representative of the world that Urbani is trying to create with her music: diverse, unpretentious, and exploratory. “I’m interested in curating things that feel more like performance art, feel more conceptual, feel like they’re opening people to this spectrum of identity and beauty. That’s one thing that made me get really cynical about wanting to be in the music world at all, because I think it’s so boring to go to a show and see a bunch of things that look similar.” Urbani is interested in a new brand of diversity as well: a diversity of the self, which she describes in her latest single. “My song ‘Human Coat’ is all about identity and not necessarily feeling truthfully represented by your exterior,” she says. “It’s been weird this year talking about gender neutrality and fuidity, which have become trendy in a certain way. I think about Michael Jackson a lot and I think of him as having identity fuidity. It’s a lot of themes of people connecting on a plane that’s so much deeper and more important than immediate social identifers.” This devotion to personal and cultural freedom, along with a fear of censorship, is one of the many reasons Urbani has decided not to work with a label—choosing instead to manage everything herself. She wants her story to be her own, and never that of an executive who might try to force a narrative down her throat. In her words: “The white guys in the suits are the scariest people on earth.” Though she may be in the throes of her recent breakup with former collaborator Hynes, she feels a sense of gratitude toward him. “Dev has been the most important person in my life in so many ways over the past few years,” she says. “I’m grateful for that connection and we’ll see what it’s going to be like in the future. It’s a fresh breakup so it’s really weird, but it defnitely inspired me a lot to be working with him, and I think I inspired him a lot.” It is this spirit of gratitude that has inspired Urbani to start her own label, U.R.U., which will be founded on the simple notion of connecting people and paying homage to the way in which she got her start as well as her own humanitarian principles. “A lot of people wonder why they feel miserable and it’s because they are just stewing in that stress that they can’t do enough. They don’t even want to try because they’re afraid of their own potential to connect with people.” WILLIAM DEFEBAUGH


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Arielle Holmes’s newly short blonde hair is under a bandanna when she arrives on-set, alone. “It’s for a movie. I don’t necessarily like it,” she deadpans. “I play a neo-Nazi soldier from the future.” She’s talking about Winter’s Dream, one of three feature flms she’s acted in since her recent discovery. It’s clear upon meeting Holmes, though, that going from unknown to in-demand in Hollywood isn’t, for her, like going from zero to sixty. The actor describes her own tumultuous past in monotone while looking down at her own incredibly scarred arms: at 22, she’s already writing her frst memoir, tentatively titled Mad Love in New York City. Holmes’s so-called Cinderella story is now widely known among indie movie bufs: flm director Josh Safdie, after approaching Holmes in a subway station, had intended to cast her in a project about New York’s diamond district, where she was apprenticing. Instead, though, Safdie and his brother and co-director, Benny, got to know the life story of an addict, drifter, and poet. They insisted that she star in a whole new project, and help write it. The resulting Heaven Knows What follows Harley (“like Harley Quinn,” Holmes confrms—and she would have been perfect in Suicide Squad), a character based on Holmes before she kicked heroin with the help of methadone. Harley is homeless, spanging on the Upper West Side. “I always kind of felt like life was a movie, in a weird way,” Holmes says, “but then it actually was—part of it, anyway.” In a scene that explains the scars, Harley brutally cuts her wrists in order to prove to her boyfriend, Ilya, that she’d rather die than be without him. Ilya is played by Caleb Landry Jones (most characters are based on the actors playing them, but it was, according to the Safdie brothers, mostly a “vanity thing” that kept Ilya from playing himself). The real Ilya was around for much of the flming and attended the premiere, but just after the ofcial release, he died.

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“That put me in a dark place for a while,” Holmes says, almost as an aside. Holmes the writer, who is gifted in balancing the brutal with the basic, is now tasked with a decision that will truly defne the scope of her book: whether it ends before she becomes a movie star, or before. “I think I kind of have to put that in,” she says. “It’s a big thing that happened.” Her next release, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, co-stars Shia LaBeouf—who is “really cool and chill to work with”—and follows a clique of magazine-selling delinquents. “That’s a crazy lifestyle,” Holmes says without a trace of irony. “The people that really do that? It’s dark.” After our interview, Josh Safdie and a friend, Ratzo, show up looking for Holmes. They’ve scheduled a writing brainstorm before she goes back to L.A., where she now resides (kind of: she’s still technically without a home). By the time they arrive, though, Holmes is of to another interview. She doesn’t have a phone, says Safdie. I’m reminded of a scene in Heaven Knows What in which Ilya takes a cheap Nokia gifted to Harley and tosses it into the night sky. It transforms into a frework. It’s one way in which the flm suggests that Holmes and company don’t romanticize heroin use, but that heroin is a tool they use to romanticize New York. “When I was on the street, I didn’t have a choice,” reasons Holmes. “But in a way I did choose that lifestyle. When I started getting really heavy into dope—my mother was a heroin addict, so I knew how it afected people. I saw her kick before. It was horrible. So, I knew what I was getting into.” But the strange allure, and the resulting struggle with drugs has had an efect on her ability to inhabit characters. “[Heroin] was an experience I wanted to have for whatever reason,” she says. “And I’m glad I did. It taught me a lot, the whole thing.” natasha stagg


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Photo assistants Eduardo Silva and Akilah Richardson Stylist assistant Marie Arai Hair assistant Katharine Cali Retouching Color One NYC Equipment and location Root Drive-In Catering Monterone


Heather Golden Schwalb and Emma Rose Jenney have all the markings of classic It Girls: born and raised in New York City (in Greenwich Village, no less) to artistic parents, the duo have a love of vintage clothing and are signed to the chic French record label Kitsuné. On paper their details could belong to characters in a novel, but the young women of Beau are real, down-to-earth, and genuinely enthusiastic about writing and performing their music. The band began with Jenney on acoustic guitar and Schwalb on vocals, their longstanding friendship not only bringing them together, but also driving them creatively. In person they fnish each other’s sentences. Musically, they both write melodies and lyrics, often coming together to fnd they’ve written cohesive pieces. “With songwriting, we’re very connected,” begins Schwalb. “Sometimes we’ll both be working on separate songs,” she says, passing her thought like a baton. “Simultaneously, that work perfectly together,” Jenney continues. “I mean, it’s crazy; we won’t even tell each other, we’ll just come to each other with parts of a song, and we’re like, That works so well.” Schwalb agrees: “Like, really well. And then maybe we’ll make another part together from there on out.” Their upbeat demeanors come as somewhat of a surprise, given the moody soulfulness of the tracks on Beau’s debut EP. Their lyrics and sound suggest a weathered pain beyond their years, but it’s not a front they’re putting on. Their music is partially infuenced by the people they’ve met in New York, or by Jenney’s time in New Orleans. “It’s been something that’s almost been waiting to just get out there, and be created,” says Schwalb. “It’s almost timeless. We’re just old souls, trapped in teenage-angst bodies.” The two are in

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their early 20s now but have been writing since they were 13, says Jenney. “We couldn’t change it if we wanted to,” she adds. “It’s just how we are.” But since signing to a label things have certainly changed for the duo: they’re now able to record in Paris and London with session musicians who round out their sound. “Anything is possible,” says Schwalb of their new situation. “But all the same, you have to keep it organized, and not get ahead of yourself.” Things may be picking up speed, but both women are levelheaded about their career path. “It’s just become a full-time job,” says Jenney. “There’s no more real soul-searching. It’s what we’re doing, and it’s exactly what we want to do all the time. We went from being lost teenagers, to just suddenly being found. Together.” In late August, Beau left for Tokyo to do a showcase. Now, they’re playing shows in Europe. A bigger tour will likely be in the works after the release of their frst LP early next year. “There’s an openness to creativity in the album,” says Schwalb. “We’ve been through a lot so early on in the city. Not a lot to complain about—but a lot to write about, and to feel. It’s like, the perfect album to describe a coming-of-age period.” Jenney continues that thought: “Music is our outlet. There’s no holding back in our songwriting. Anything we create, musically or artistically. It’s like, we just kind of...” She sets up a sentence for Schwalb to fnish: “Give it all.” AD


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Makeup Zenia Jaeger (The Wall Group/BEL) Hair Kayla MiChele (Streeters) Manicure Kelly B. using Dior Vernis (De Facto) Digital technician Chelsie Craig

JESSICA PRATT FOLK PSYCH-OUT Tucked away in the haze of Los Angeles, Jessica Pratt wrote and recorded her sophomore album alone. She had just moved from San Francisco, hardly knew anyone in her new home, and couldn’t drive: a perfect mix for a reclusive, analog recording project. While sun-scorched L.A., with its superfcial gloss, seems like an unlikely origin for an album as intimate as On Your Own Love Again, the isolation it provided for Pratt was crucial. After all, sometimes it requires being surrounded by people to plumb the depths of loneliness. In our conversation following this, her frst fashion photo shoot, Pratt noted the importance of geographical places and the psychic efects they bear on artists. Her tour, ongoing for the rest of 2015, has taken her all over the United States, from New Orleans (“a place that wants to be underwater”) to New York (where “there’s defnitely a real magical sort of vibration happening”). Ideas of the psychic are deeply embedded in her washed-out, folk-inspired sound, equally planted in the world of reality as it is in that of the subconscious dream state. With lyrics that gracefully meander between emotional fragility and a surreal use of syntax, part troubadour d’amour, part Gysin/ Burroughs cut-up, Pratt’s music supersedes simple comparisons to other folk singers. Her process is closer to that of a painter or an alchemist, informed by color, moods, location, and the search for the secrets we keep from ourselves. “In my mind, it’s very color-coded. Maybe not all songwriters are functioning in the same parts of their brains, but I think about the place where images and music are coinciding…like people with synesthesia.” On Your Own Love Again is an album on the threshold, like dreams, visions, or emotional delirium, but also one of structure. Pratt enjoys the discipline of hooks, choruses, and bridges even if she often abandons them. This delicate balance explains the wildfre spread of her single “Back, Baby,” which anchors itself down with a memorable chorus of lost love and distinguishes itself with ethereal imagery like, “Saw a paper with the header that your love is just a myth I devised.” For an artist as winsomely fragile and idiosyncratic as Pratt, the music industry can be the pedestal from which one rises and falls quite tragically. With attention comes pressure. When asked if she is excited to get home after the frst leg of her tour, Pratt is hesitant. “I can’t say that too frmly right now, because I will be home for a month and it’s my only time of really for the rest of the year. It’s just going to be a crazy tour. And then starting in January I’ll have all of these months of to conceive of and record another record, which will be the frst time I’m doing that in an appointed time slot, which is something that has always scared me about the music industry and being on a label. It’s interesting to think about having to summon all the emotional input you have had for the last year and just marshal your eforts together to create some cohesive thing. I think it ruins some people if it’s done in the wrong way.” But for all of the vulnerability in her music, Pratt in person strikes one as a musician in it for the long haul. In fact, she herself writes it on the wall, with striking prescience in her lyrics: “Never had a second chance before this time, but things walk that they never do recall on, can’t go back, baby.” WYATT ALLGEIER


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JAMES FRANCO ON THE TRAPPINGS OF OUR FICTIONS AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR OUR FUTURE I am an actor, and I am paid to play characters other than myself. There is usually no backlash if I play a character whose profession is diferent than mine. In the case of my playing someone who does something foreign to me, the criteria becomes a matter of plausibility: I believed James as the drug dealer versus I didn’t believe James as a genetic researcher. When it comes to characters whose race is diferent than the actor’s, it gets trickier. The shame of Hollywood’s whitewashed past has fortunately had us do away with most earnest uses of blackface, yellowface, and redface. Even Sir Laurence Olivier’s lauded stage performance as Othello, done in the long tradition of a company’s lead white actor playing the noble Moor, was criticized when it was put on flm. Under the scrutinizing gaze of the camera his depiction looked mannered, and racist. I always thought that blackface was illegal, but that idea, I think, is a show business myth. So, if you really want to do blackface, you could. The racist aspects aside, I hate the idea of casting a role meant for one race by an actor of another race, because there are still so few roles for actors of color. Not to mention that an Iranian is probably inherently better at playing an Iranian than a non-Iranian. When the Oscars are criticized for a lack of diversity in nominees, the critics should go to the source: a lack of diversity in the casting of movies. They should also look at whitewashing and malewashing in the behind-the-camera positions, namely at directors. The studios will argue that movies cast with ethnic leads make less money than movies with white leads, but things won’t change unless we make them change. Sometimes when you make art you need to do it for the art, rather than the money. Movies are art. Well, sometimes movies are art. Sometimes they are business. I get excited for the future when my graduate flm classes are flled with female directing, writing, and producing students. I taught an editing class at USC that was all women. I’m all for authenticity in movies, but who’s to say superheroes are all white? It’s not as if superhero movies are capturing history, they’re just fantasy. How many of the Avengers are white? How many of the X-Men? How many of the DC characters? Ninety-fve percent? How many are women? Ten percent? I know that comic book movies are based on comic books, and the characters in comic books are primarily white males, which, I’m guessing is because for the past 77 years, since the introduction of Superman, comic book readers have been primarily young white males. But now that superhero movies and high-concept movies such as The Hunger Games have taken over as the lion’s share of the big-budget flms being made, the casting of those flms should refect more diversity. Movies are still the greatest mirrors, albeit warped ones, of how we live now. If superheroes are the product of our collective need for a greater authority, as well as the living-out of empowerment fantasies, especially for the underprivileged, these fgures need to cover a greater range of role models, and also refect a more diverse base of disenfranchised dreamers. For every geeky white boy who gets inspired by nerdy Peter Parker turning into the wisecracking, unstoppable Spider-Man, there are just as many young Latinos, African Americans, Asians, young women, and gay children who could use the same kind of inspiration. These are children who know the same kind of bullying that Peter Parker suffered from Flash, if not worse. And since it is written in some strange Marvel contract that Spider-Man must be cast as a straight white male (I’m not kidding, this is true), these nonwhite, non-male, non-straight children need their own models to aspire to. I mean, fuck Spider-Man.

And it just gets boring watching white people save the day all the time. In Gentleman’s Agreement, Gregory Peck plays a journalist who goes undercover as a Jewish man to study anti-Semitism. Why not just make the character Jewish? In Cruising, Al Pacino’s character goes undercover as a gay man to catch a serial killer in leather bars. Why not just make Pacino’s character gay? The outcries against the otherwise lauded The Help were that a white woman had to step in to save the black women. And as good as Dallas Buyers Club was, of all the stories about survival in the early days of the AIDS crisis, why are we telling the one story of the straight man, when we should be telling the stories of the beleaguered LGBT community that sufered the greatest losses, and did the majority of the relief work? For most of Hollywood’s history, the depiction of a gay character by a straight actor was verboten, and not only by the studios, but also by the actors’ own refusal to risk being identifed as gay. The tacit logic was that if an actor is identifed as gay he won’t be able to be perceived as a straight character. Yet My Own Private Idaho had straight actors depicting gay characters, or at least gay-for-pay prostitutes. In that flm there was something sexy about River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves playing gay-for-pay; it perfectly paralleled what they were doing as straight actors playing gay characters. Phoenix famously wrote the campfre scene where his Mike Waters tells Reeves’s Scott Favor that he could love him without being paid. Later, Brokeback Mountain broke new ground by telling a simple, tragic love story, but instead of a Romeo and a Juliet, we got two Romeos. Having Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, two straight movie stars, in the leading roles did much to move the movie into the mainstream. It is arguable that it wouldn’t have made as many waves if the actors had been gay, because the straight audience would have been less interested. Now, we see straight actors playing characters from the LGBT community all the time. Sometimes they even have non-straight kissing scenes, and love scenes! The fear of being identifed as gay for playing a gay character is no longer the bugbear that it once was, gay-shaming websites such as Gawker notwithstanding. It’s perceived as cool for a straight actor to acknowledge his LGBT audience. But even with all the straight actors playing gay, it still seems that there is reluctance for gay actors to come out in public for that same old fear that they will no longer be cast in straight roles. I’m not saying that gay actors should come out—as with anyone, actor or otherwise, it’s each individual’s prerogative. I just want to identify the tacit force that keeps so many in the celluloid closet. Movies and television are subject to the forces of consumption, which are pulled by the strings of popularity, which dictate the distribution of money. So if you are an entertainer and you want to make a living of your work, then you are inevitably conscious of how you present yourself to the public, and the kind of work you put out. The equation is very simple: if you do something or make something that turns of your fan base, then it is harder to make a living as an entertainer. Entertainment and art are often like popularity contests, and just like in high school, the beautiful and the privileged are often at the top. Fortunately, we live in a time when communication is at a premium. The freaks and geeks of yesteryear (in our metaphorical high school) who had to hang in the shadows with their mutually despised kindred, can now step into the open through the power of communication. On the Internet like can recognize like, and in those connections, forces of change are fostered. In the chillingly beautiful flm Zoo, men who like to fuck horses fnd each other on the Internet. Judgments of

bestiality aside, I found myself envious of the secret society that the men had formed, simply because they were outsiders with no one to depend on but each other. A family or organization formed out of ostracism, which can support itself out of mutual understanding, is an organization with strong emotional bonds, regardless of the reasons they were cast out of mainstream society. Social networking allows us all to be actors. This is the kind of acting that is not career oriented. When you create and foster a profle on Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, you are curating a version of yourself. You choose which images to post, what things to say, how you want yourself to be represented. Your profle picture


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doesn’t have to be a picture of you. That says a lot. We can all be who we want to be on the Internet. Of course social networking has a lot to do with popularity, if you want it to. And of course some people parlay this popularity into fnancial dividends. I do. But that’s because my public profle, whether on social networks or otherwise, is already bound up with my profession. I am subject to the same implicit rules of popularity on my Instagram account as I am in any public forum. But that is because I am a public fgure. I could post a picture of myself on Instagram in the middle of an orgy (if I blurred out the nudity), but the backlash against my career would probably be large. Although,

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who knows, maybe it would just enhance it. What I’m saying is that no one is alone any longer now that we have the Internet. Life is a performance, and on the Internet you can be whoever you want to be. The freaks and geeks of the past can now step up and be represented because the power is in your hands. As the means of representation fow down from the former citadels of studio-run Hollywood, down into the hands of the many, the subjects that are represented will change to more accurately refect the viewers. The viewers are becoming the makers. In the mainstream, race, gender, sexuality, and appearance are all subject to the spoken and unspoken pressures

of our collective understanding of what is politically correct, as well as the high school-like popularity contests that rule entertainment economics. But the mainstream is losing ground to the upswarm of subgroups that have formed in this information age. Now, more than ever, you can be who you want to be because more likely than not, there are others out there just like you. And they will take you into their fold. No matter who you are or who you want to be, a family of like-minded creatures is waiting for you on the Internet.


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Julia Cumming started her frst band when she was 13, but her obsession with music began long before that. “My earliest memory is wanting to be in the Beatles,” recalls the 19-yearold New York native while sipping an iced cofee in the lobby of SoHo’s Mercer Hotel. She’s wearing a vintage foral kimono dress that she bought in L.A. (“It was only, like, three dollars,” she proudly proclaims), a ’90s-style tattoo choker, and a black Saint Laurent bag—a gift from the French house and its creative director, Hedi Slimane, for whom she’s modeled since 2014. Her cherry red nail polish is chipped, her hair is dyed dusty pink, and her eyebrows are newly bleached. “I felt like, fuck it. I’m a hairy woman. I have big eyebrows, and I wanted to see what happens when you take them away,” she explains. “My hair is fake—I bleached it blonde for the frst time when my band was breaking up and I thought the

world was over and I didn’t want to look at my face anymore. Now my eyebrows are fake.” She doesn’t say this with the whine of an angsty teenager, but with the wisdom of an old soul. The musician-cum-model has lived many lives in the fewer than two decades she’s been alive. She and her frst band, Supercute!, opened for Kate Nash before Cumming had even graduated high school. She trained to be a classical opera singer, but strayed from that path, feeling it was “the safe route, and I don’t want to play it safe.” Now, she sings and plays bass for Sunfower Bean, a psychedelic rock group comprised of Cumming, Nick Kivlen, and Jacob Faber, best known for their tune “Tame Impala.” The musician has all the attitude of a born-andbred New Yorker, having grown up on 14th Street between Avenues A and B, but none of the cynicism. Fueled by passion,

Cumming is a true 21st-century rocker, and it’s easy to understand why Slimane, who famously focks to the music world for inspiration and campaign faces, is enamored with the 5'11" beauty. Cumming, however, doesn’t see it so plainly. “Working with Hedi and Saint Laurent has taken things to a level that I could not have imagined,” she admits with a bashful smile. “In a weird way, I feel like I’ve tricked everybody, or that I don’t deserve it. I’m like, When are they gonna fgure out that I’m not pretty?” On the contrary, it’s Cumming’s raw, I-just-don’t-care aesthetic that makes her such an appealing model. In addition to walking the runway and posing for Saint Laurent, she has featured in such publications as Vogue Italia, i-D, Dazed & Confused, and, of course, V. Her unapologetic sense of


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Makeup Kanako Takase Hair Shingo Shibata Model Julia Cumming (Marilyn) Manicure Holly Falcone (Kate Ryan) Set design Zachary Kinsella Photo assistants Jef Allen and Olivia Van Kuiken Stylist assistant Lucas Dawson Set design assistant Zach Sky Retouching Vision On


self is a refreshing antidote to the glossy perfection we’ve come to expect from the fashion and music industries, and her innate feminist stance sets a strong example for her fans. “On shoots, I sometimes get in trouble for not shaving,” she laughs. “It’s not a political thing—I guess it becomes a political thing—I just don’t like it. I’ve just said, Fuck it, because I like the idea of being a little gross.” On a more serious note, Cumming is often frustrated with the way women are treated in the worlds of music and modeling. “As a woman modeling, despite the obvious power dynamic, you’re being celebrated. A beautiful woman is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet. When you’re a woman, you’re taught from birth that you should be pretty. But when you are, people want to tear you down for using [your looks] as an advantage,” she laments. “And as a woman

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in music, it’s so easy to be objectifed. If you’re a man, you’re making music. But if you’re a woman, you’re a woman making music. I and people younger than me are right on the cusp of where it’s changing, because I think the world is less interested in hearing about it—we’ve been talking about it for so long. But still, people come up to me after shows—dudes— and they’re like, Oh, I’ve never seen a girl play bass like that. And I’m like, The fucking nerve! I don’t understand the way you’re living your life!” If change is imminent, Cumming is doing her part to make it happen. “I just want to be a hardworking model and a hardworking musician who pushes myself in both of those felds. I think if I can do that really genuinely and really authentically, that’s rock and roll. And no one can take that away from me.” The next step in Cumming’s pursuit of greatness is the

release of Sunfower Bean’s new album. Out early next year, the LP, according to Cumming, is a departure from the band’s heavy, oft performance-driven past. “We worked with my friend Matt Molnar from the band Friends, and he helped us bring out a lot of sides that we hadn’t really tapped into. There are a lot of harmonies on the record, and it has a lot of listenability. It’s about the songs, and bringing some of the beauty out. I think people are going to be surprised.” When asked whether she prefers modeling or music, Cumming is quick to reply. “I think people want you to choose,” she says. “Modeling has defnitely become a form of artistic expression for me. But music has been a ruling factor in my life since I was able to do it. And one thing I’ve decided is that I’m going to be making music forever. Until the day I die.” KATHARINE K. ZARRELLA

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It’s candle season, and Diptyque has become as ubiquitous in chic homes (and ofces) as a Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte in the hands of NYU students around this time of year. To top of 2015, the candle scent to light during a holly jolly gathering is the limited edition collection made for the holidays, called “Forêts Imaginaires” (“Imaginary Forests”). For the most spirited of the soft, woody scents, Diptyque commissioned painter Julien Colombier to make a very moody Christmas tree, or Sapin. His art covers the other new additions, Liquidambar and Oliban, as well. SF

Adeam designer Hanako Maeda found inspiration for S/S ’16 in kimono prints from the Edo Period—a moment in Japanese culture known for its profusion of art, social equality, economic progress, and the birth of Japonism (the infuence of Japanese culture on the West). For the collection’s accessories, Maeda turned to her good friend and handbag expert, Chloe Perrin, for guidance. Two of Perrin’s signature styles, Le Carré and Le Rond, are made in-house from silk faille in custom Adeam prints and will be ofered in two colorways: Le Carré in red and purple and Le Rond in red and green. MICHAEL gLEESON

Retouching Pablo Cubarle

the hOLiDaYs aRe Lit

V magazIne 56

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In the digital age, fashion campaigns have evolved into something beyond mere product propaganda. They dominate our Instagram feeds, spawn countless critiques, and thanks to an infux of celebrity faces, pop up everywhere from Page Six to late-night TV. However, throughout his 14-year tenure as the creative director of Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier has stayed true to his subtler, but no less striking approach to advertising. With a deep love for photography (he’s been an avid collector his entire adult life), Maier in 2002 launched the Art of Collaboration, a project for which he enlists fne art photographers to capture Bottega’s seasonal oferings. There are no tricks or gimmicks, just beautiful images created by some of the world’s most respected talents: Annie Leibovitz, Nobuyoshi Araki, the late David Armstrong, Nick Knight, David Sims, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Peter Lindbergh, and Ryan McGinley among them. “Photography is one of my passions in life,” says Maier. “And when I look at a campaign, I don’t want to think about the bag or the clothes. It’s more important to create a mood or a feeling so that the collection comes to life.” Maier’s handpicked image-makers have helped him achieve this. For instance, Philip-Lorca diCorcia brought a

flm noir tint to Maier’s frst full womenswear collection (F/W ’06), shot on Christy Turlington in the elevators of Bottega’s New York ofces, and Nan Goldin’s soft S/S ’10 ads, lensed in a decrepit Staten Island whaling house, depict a heady romance drenched in gilded light. Each campaign tells a story, and with the release of Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration, you can have each of Bottega’s tales on your cofee table. Published by Rizzoli and featuring an intro by Tim Blanks, the tome boasts campaigns by all 27 photographers who have shot for Bottega thus far, from Robin Broadbent’s productfocused F/W ’02 adverts to Juergen Teller’s expressive F/W

’15 snaps of Anna Cleveland. But don’t be mistaken—this book doesn’t mark the end of Maier’s collaborations. “There are many photographers who I would like to work with in the future,” he says, naming Martin Parr as a top choice. “I am very careful that my collaborators’ work fts with the collection we’ve just presented. Martin would need something with the right color and detail. But this is a long-term goal. The right collection will come.” KAthARINE K. ZARREllA



Makeup Nobuko Maekawa using M.A.C Cosmetics Hair Yumi Nakada Dingle using Oribe Model Erin (M+P Models) Photo assistant Nina Parsons Stylist assistant Surgil Khan

Craig Green might be a menswear designer, but can you blame us ladies for wanting in on the action? Since launching his cerebral, utilitarian line in 2012, the 29-year-old has been heralded as one of London’s most innovative new talents. In addition to winning a British Fashion Award, having his work featured alongside that of Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent in the Met’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition, and getting Nick Knight to shoot his debut F/W ’15 campaign, the Central Saint Martins grad has collaborated with the likes of Adidas and Topman, was shortlisted for the LVMH Fashion Prize, and is not just stocked but celebrated by major international retailers, including Dover Street Market and Barneys New York. But what’s causing the buzz around Green’s menswear of late are the women who are sporting it. “Since the beginning, I had female press people ordering directly from me, and we started to get reports from stores that women were buying it in small sizes,” says Green. “So there was a constant conversation about whether the collection should be more gender neutral, or if I should start womenswear as a separate entity.” After a gaggle of street-style stars were snapped in Green’s duds and FKA twigs wore his kimono jacket onstage, it was clear that Green’s female fan base was on the rise. And in order to embrace them, he sent four female models down his S/S ’16 catwalk. “It was really ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ right up until the day before,” recalls Green. “But this collection was about symbolism and freedom, and it felt right to have girls in the mix.” Green notes that the entire lineup of paneled coats, roomy trousers, and cutout sweaters is more or less unisex—and he’s ofering it in a wider range of sizes, starting at XXS, to cater to his female customers. “I feel like everything is moving toward gender neutrality, and that the [line] between men’s and women’s clothing almost doesn’t exist,” says Green when asked about fashion’s increasingly blurring gender landscape (see Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, J.W. Anderson, or Hood By Air). However, don’t label him a unisex designer just yet. “I’m kind of a traditionalist, and eventually, I would like to have a men’s and a women’s line, each with its own energy and research,” Green says. In the meantime, ladies, you can continue storming the menswear racks. KKZ


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Retouching Pablo Cubarle




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house of dior

with its legendary show location and dizzyingly inspired duds, raf simons’s resort collection for dior came from another dimension to take fashion on a trip

Though nestled on a clif overlooking the glamorous Côte D’Azur, Pierre Cardin’s Palais Bulles (“Bubble Palace”) wouldn’t be out of place in a galaxy far, far away—like on Tatooine, the desert planet where Jedi are raised among Hutts and Tusken Raiders in the fantasy world of Star Wars. “In many ways it is a form of architecture you cannot connect to another,” Raf Simons says. Designed by the late Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, the amphibeous-looking structure is of an aesthetic language that belongs to Lovag alone. “It is more human than rational—individual and playful,”


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Simons continues. “It is a place I have been fascinated by for a number of years and I am so happy to be able to show here.” Long a site of cult worship among architecture and interior design cognoscenti, the Palace maintains its original aesthetic vision under Cardin’s watch. The interiors look straight out of a 1960s science fction B-movie. It’s an artifact of pure originality that perfectly gels with Simons’s own future-retro vision for this chapter of his own epic saga at Dior.

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“I wanted an idea of freedom, playfulness, and individuality to come to the fore in this collection,” Simons says, “especially in consideration of the Dior Archive. It is not a heavy concept; it is light and young and there is a literal lightening of this clothing to make it fresh.” Think structurally enhanced bar jackets, utilitarian pockets, Lurex-and-metallic silk skirts, and accordion peekaboo dresses that fashed mechanically trippy grids of skin. “Much of the design architecture comes from Mr. Dior’s manteaux, his coats,” Simons explains. “But the heavy fabric is stripped away, the scale

is played with, and elements of their style are ‘collaged’ into other forms and garments.” The fnal product, arriving in stores this November, is something familiar, something strange, and something altogether futuristic. If Mr. Cardin’s gleaming reaction from the front row is any indication (at the exuberant age of 92, no less), it’s something that would make those late architects Dior and Lovag feel right at home.


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We, as a human race, have managed to do so many wonderful things in the world of medicine and healing: organ transplants, DNA testing, creating babies in test tubes. Why, then, has it been impossible to come up with a cure for jet lag? That’s the sort of deep thought I had when I landed bleary-eyed and delirious at Charles de Gaulle for DAY ONE of the haute couture shows in Paris. Well, the good news is I discovered at least one possible remedy: aesthetic inspiration. My frst stop on the way into town from the airport was the Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts of Paris, which is where the glorious new LVMH Foundation is located. (Surely you’ve seen all the press around this fabulous new museum, which was designed by Frank Gehry and took about 14 years to fnish. So I’ll spare you the blabbering here.) Fortuitously, it was the last day of its Keys to a Passion show, a blockbuster presentation of masterpieces by Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Malevich,

Bacon, Rothko, Mondrian, and more. Perhaps in some fashion week foreshadowing, one of the centerpieces was Munch’s The Scream, the 1893 work of a fgure howling into the night. After a few hours of artistic inspiration, it was time for some nourishment. The Hôtel Costes is a hotel in the center of Paris with terrible service but a wonderful crab salad. (If you want to be super decadent like me, ask them to put some avocado in it. The waitress will tell you they can’t and you’ll have to argue for a few minutes, but eventually they do it because it’s really not that hard to put some fucking avocado in a salad.) The check took forever, but I paid and went home to get ready for the week’s frst fashion show. When Gianni Versace was alive, his couture shows were epic dramas held on a temporary stage built over the pool in the Paris Ritz. So much has changed since his passing—I, for one, was curious to see what that pool was going to look like

after the Ritz’s much anticipated and ongoing renovation—but Donatella has done a bang-up job of keeping the spirit of the house alive. It seemed that the notion of spirits was one of the themes of this season’s show, as the collection pranced onto the runway in the form of beaded, unraveling, haute couture fairies from a forest of nymphs and fantasies. DAY TWO of the shows had me again in a garden, this time in one of the most marvelous in all of Paris: the Rodin Museum. Dior took over the place and constructed what was sort of a scafolding greenhouse covered in cheerycolored glass panels that gave the illusion of living inside an Impressionist painting. The numbers at Dior are outrageous: a single dress may have 250 hours of hand embroidery or 500 individually sewn-on feathers, and one can’t help but melt in the face of that kind of luxury. I especially loved the dresses, which were foaty, fowing, and foral, all


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atelIer Versace

dIor haute couture

inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Later that night, I felt like I was wearing another corsage. Giambattista Valli celebrated his new M.A.C Cosmetics line with a Flower Obsession Ball. That evening he showed his ninth haute couture collection at the Grand Palais (I always love his fnale dresses, which this season were bigger clouds of tulle than ever), and his girls—Bianca Brandolini, Eugenie Niarchos, Jessica Alba, et al—came out to let their hair down. Or, actually, put it up with fowers. Giamba even projected giant displays of roses onto the exterior of the Palais Garnier, so it felt like we were boogying in a bouquet. I’d thought Karl Lagerfeld was the reason I woke up on DAY THREE, but when I got to his Chanel couture show, my eyes almost exploded from all the other reasons. Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Vanessa Paradis and her daughter Lily-Rose

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Depp, Lara Stone: all of these girls were…show props. They came out and sat at casino tables and faux gambled as Karl’s exquisite show paraded around them. Kendall Jenner was his bride of modernity, wearing a double-breasted white suit and a veil not on her face but jutting out from her hips. That afternoon, I zoomed to the Trocadéro for the Armani Privé show. Perhaps I had been in Paris too long because I was fashionably late and had to wiggle my way into the venue just as the lights went down. When they came up, I was in Armani’s pink-tinged fantasy world, where movie stars stalk the night in slinky evening dresses and giant fuchsia fur coats. I was still dreaming when I sauntered into the fashion industry canteen Caviar Kaspia for a ridiculously priced but marvelously delicious baked potato full of sturgeon eggs. Haute couture is steeped in French tradition, but on the last day, DAY FOUR, the shows questioned the idea of the

future of clothes. John Galliano’s show for Margiela was that morning, and I will never forget his fnale dress—a big white puf that looked like an explosion of starched fabrics and distressed trash bags—stomping down to the sounds of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” And later that evening, Lagerfeld presented his second couture outing of the week, this time with Fendi. It was the furrier’s frst ever couture outing, but what a showing: Jamie Bochert’s black-and-white sable bustier was a work of art. That evening, I had dinner at Antoine Arnault and Natalia Vodianova’s apartment, which overlooks the Eifel Tower. We talked about the constantly evolving nature of couture (new houses on the schedule like Margiela, new angles to exclusivity like Fendi’s), and as we wondered aloud where it was all going, the tower suddenly lit up and silenced us all. Long live Paris. Long live couture! derek blasberg

10/7/15 2:07 PM


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Larry Busacca / Getty Images

It was easy to be skeptical of Givenchy’s September 11 New York fashion week debut. A French luxury brand hosting an extravagant, celebrity-studded spectacle on the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks seemed inappropriate at best, blasphemous at worst. Creative director Riccardo Tisci proved the skeptics wrong. Tisci, who was celebrating 10 years at the helm of the storied house as well as the opening of its grand new Madison Avenue fagship, didn’t just put on a fashion show at Pier 26 in West TriBeCa. In collaboration with his dear friend and partner in artistic crime, Marina Abramović, he produced a unifying experience that forced editors, media darlings, designers, and lucky members of the public who had won tickets in an online rafe to remove themselves

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from the frenetic frivolity of NYFW and be mentally—perhaps even spiritually—present in the serene moment Tisci and co. had created. “The collection was a very diferent way to show,” Tisci explains. “It was a performance involving art, music, and beauty...which is my world, the world I’ve tried to show for 10 years at Givenchy.” Though we were told to arrive at six PM, the show didn’t begin until well past seven. But the wait for the frst model— Tisci muse Mariacarla Boscono—to hit the runway wasn’t occupied by the typical toe tapping and phone checking. Of course, there were camera fashes and giddy gasps as members of the Tisci tribe, including Courtney Love, Liv and Steven Tyler, Nicki Minaj, Amanda Seyfried, Kim and Kanye, and more settled into their front-row seats. But guests were,

for the most part, more interested in absorbing the scene. As the sun sank into the Hudson, painting the sky a breathtaking tangerine, the fashion fock perused the set, constructed of recycled materials like destroyed wood and rusted scrap metal. It looked like a postapocalyptic urban landscape, but its decrepit nature was somehow calming, as was the soundtrack, comprised of chants and songs from six diferent religions and cultures. Abramović’s performers, all of which were dressed in crisp white shirts and black pants (a theme that tied into Tisci’s collection, but more on that later), were a subject of fascination, too. One stood beneath a spigot atop a platform while water washed over her, the New York skyline serving as the backdrop. Another walked in slow motion, lapping the vast runway several times before the likes of Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner, and Jamie Bochert took his place. It felt as though Tisci and Abramović were insisting that we all just calm down, that we simply be still for a moment and recognize how lucky we were to be sitting there on a perfect New York evening with the Freedom Tower—a symbol of remembrance, strength, survival, and perseverance—watching over us. The preshow, if you will, was elegant, pensive, and impactful, and Tisci’s S/S ’16 collection followed suit. It’s a celebration of the dark, romantic, sensual wares that have made Tisci’s tenure at Givenchy such a success, and by revisiting his “greatest hits,” Tisci unwittingly reminded us how much his work has infuenced the fashion world’s tastes, trends, and even designers over the last decade. An ode to black and white, the 88-look show began with boudoir-ish satin separates and slip dresses, all trimmed in lace to baroque efect. There was slick black suiting and lace shirts for the men, who broke up the parade of Tisci’s exquisite couture gowns. Most of those ornate designs were paired with his now signature facial adornments, expertly applied by Pat McGrath. The alternating male and female models brought to mind a walk down the aisle. And that seemed deliberate, especially considering the closing line of Abramović’s letter to Tisci, which was placed on every seat. “The event that we are creating together is about forgiveness, inclusivity, new life, hope, and above all, love.” There is no doubt that a lot of love went into Givenchy’s New York event. “I’m into family. I’m into love. I’m into gang. We all live for love; love is the only thing that doesn’t have a prize, a religion. It’s what puts everybody on the same level, and that’s the point of this,” says Tisci. But love wasn’t the only emotion rippling through the crowd. Many guests cried while the models took their fnale turn to a live performance of “Ave Maria.” Some smiled and gasped at the painstaking couture confections, like Smalls’s ensemble, which boasted an explosion of velvet and tulle. Others paused and looked away from the runway to silently stare at the Freedom Tower glowing against the black sky. It was impossible not to feel something while sitting in the world Tisci had crafted. Fashion should make us feel something. It’s an intimate part of our lives and a refection of our times. What’s more important, however, is that fashion has become an open, widely watched platform, so why wouldn’t a designer as tightly tuned into the global mood as Tisci use it to make a statement about resilience, beauty, and love? “I wanted to show the freedom of expression, strong point of view, and unique style of these Americans and people I love and respect,” Tisci asserts. From clothing to concept, his outing did just that. It was a profound success—a triumph, even, and it proved that fashion can be as powerful an art form as any. KATHARINE K. ZARRELLA

10/13/15 1:51 PM

acclaimed directors Pedro almodรณvar and Joel and ethan coen give an exclusive first look at their anticiPated new films, hitting theaters everywhere in 2016


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10/6/15 12:06 PM

© El Deseo D.A S.L.U; photo Manolo Pavón

Julieta is a 55-year-old teacher. She writes a long letter to her daughter, Antía, to try to explain to her all the things she has kept secret over the last 30 years, since Antía was conceived. When she fnishes her confession, she doesn’t know where to post the letter. Antía abandoned Julieta when she was 18 and Julieta hasn’t heard from her for 12 years. She has looked unsuccessfully for her everywhere, only to realize that Antía is a total stranger to her.

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Silencio is about destiny, the guilt complex, and the unfathomable mystery that leads some people to abandon those they love, erasing them as if they meant nothing. And it is about the pain that this brutal desertion provokes in the victims. PEDRO ALMODóVAR

Pedro AlmodóvAr And AdriAnA UgArte, WHo PlAYS YoUng JUlietA, on tHe Set of Silencio

10/6/15 12:06 PM

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10/6/15 12:06 PM

Photo Jaimie Trublood/Universal Pictures

In this photo, we are looking at photographs of all the skirt-wearing actors from years’ past and determining where George [Clooney] is on the all-time best-looking men-in-skirts category. [In the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!] I play Eddie Mannix, the Oz of Capitol Pictures. There isn’t anything that happens on the lot without his okay: legal, illegal, debaucherous, communistic—anything. Every experience with the Coen brothers is now familial. We have a nice shorthand. We don’t have a problem pointing out each other’s defects and gloriously exploiting them to keep us all entertained. Other than that, it’s simply nice to work with good storytellers, along with

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the visual artistry of Roger Deakins. When Channing [Tatum] was doing his dance sequence, George and I decided to dress up in sailors’ outfts as well, and surprise him by taking a couple of the dancers’ places. George and I learned the dance and when we did it, it turned out so well that they ended up keeping it in the flm. I always had a premonition that George and I could shimmy with the best of ’em. JOSH BROLIN

Joel and ethan Coen, Josh Brolin, and GeorGe Clooney on the set oF hail, Caesar!

10/6/15 12:06 PM

shameik moore star of the dope show

“It was my year,” Atlanta-born triple threat Shameik Moore says of 2015. He’s not wrong. By the summer season, the 20-year-old had gone from semi-popular on YouTube for his breakdancing and hip-hop music videos to New Leonardo status as the lead in one of the year’s best teen ficks, Dope. In fact, when we speak, Moore is in the middle of “training” for his role in the frst TV series directed by someone who helped solidify DiCaprio’s place in the blockbuster pantheon early on: Baz Luhrmann. Netfix’s 2016 series The Get Down is set in the 1970s and has Moore co-starring as Shaolin Fantastic—“the origin of hip-hop,” as he describes him. “There’s a lot of DJing, so I’m learning from Grandmaster Flash how to DJ.” Grandmaster Flash doesn’t appear in the show, by the way. He was brought to set by Luhrmann just to impart his wisdom of the era’s music scene. “They have a whole bunch of people who had infuence involved by coming around on-set, coming to the rehearsals,” Moore says, perhaps somewhat naively. Though he’s had bit parts all over the place, like on an episode of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and a recurring role on Nick Cannon’s sketch comedy show Incredible Crew, The Get Down is only Moore’s second major lead. Although not a period piece, Rick Famuyima’s Dope—a Sundance favorite that gained a wider release and critical acclaim this summer—involved research of an earlier time

as well. Moore’s character, Malcolm, is a hip-hop geek who gets both into and out of trouble when his well of ’90s knowledge is tapped. For most of Moore’s acting career, he’s been given plenty of homework. “They had us watch a whole lot of documentaries and projects from back then,” Moore says of the two-month period before The Get Down started flming. “Some epic stuf going on. I mean, Grandmaster Flash, that’s a name that you hear from the beginning. I never knew what he looked like, never knew what he would be like, never even wondered, to be honest. It’s almost like a brand. But he had a huge impact on hip-hop, on the world at this point—what he did was literally revolutionary. And what they had to do at that point, with no Internet? The business was diferent back then. You just have to respect them and what they went through, that hustle.” Both on screen and on the phone Moore has charisma, but before we’re met with it, he exudes something almost scholarly in his expression. He’s a classically gracious southern gentleman and clearly an avid learner. Maybe that’s why, I suggest, he’s chosen for parts that demand history lessons. “With Malcolm in particular, it needed to be a certain type of person, wired a certain way,” he ofers. In Dope, Malcolm is accidentally part of a drug heist. As a book-smart high school student in California’s crime-ridden Inglewood neighborhood,

the character summons both his own nerdy reputation and the ingrained street smarts he never knew he had in order to shrug of the confict. “You have to understand the reality of that situation to really pull it of properly, the way that it was done,” Moore says. “Growing up in Atlanta, it wasn’t Inglewood but I understood what was going on in [Dope’s] situation. And for [The Get Down], I grew up in street hip-hop. That’s how I got into it, doing the street battles. And I can dance really well. I never asked Baz why he cast me but I think that it all fts together. I do a good job representing the culture, or understanding the culture for that matter, especially when it relates to hip-hop, because that’s the soul of who I am: hip-hop.” Just like with his breakout flm role, Moore hopes the series will change a new audience’s perspective on matters of race. “It’s going to be educational,” he says. “Hip-hop has really been changed, it’s really been altered. Getting back to the roots of it is important, and I’m representing that, kind of like how in Dope, I represented a whole diferent perspective on the ’hood. We’re not all gangsters, but we can be pushed to our limits. Everything I’m doing, I’m representing something about the culture that I feel is important.” NATASHA STAGG



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10/16/15 4:06 PM


carly rae jepsen E•MO•TIONAL sINgEr Along with fresh new faces that we encountered for the frst time in 2015, maybe the most unexpected triumph came from a familiar one, albeit one that had been quiet for a couple of years. Carly Rae Jepsen, who stormed onto the music scene in 2012 with one of the most maddeningly catchy monsters in pop history, knew that trying to top, replicate, or recapture the phenomenon that was “Call Me Maybe” was a fool’s errand. More importantly, it was one she wasn’t particularly interested in. “I was excited to try something diferent,” she explains. “And I didn’t know if it would be received well or not. But I felt like the thing I’d regret most was not following my heart, and the desire to allow myself to be a musician frst, before thinking about sales.” Her bet paid of. E•MO•TION, released in August, is one of the most acclaimed pop records of the year—a tribute to more than two years of painstaking writing and production sessions that saw Jepsen collaborate with such fgures from the progressive wing of pop as Dev Hynes, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Rostam Batmanglij (whose songs made it onto the album) as well as Tegan and Sara and Bleachers’ Jack Antonof (whose didn’t, but could well resurface another time, says Jepsen). “I think the mission for me was making something that I could personally feel really proud of,” she says. “Something that really represented where I was at

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musically. And now, people who are true music lovers say something good about it without it being the most massiveselling thing. I can say honestly that’s what matters more to me, in a deeper way than I could have imagined.” Making E•MO•TION, and in efect recalibrating the kind of artist she wanted to be, was time-consuming, she concedes. And time is not always an easy ask in the major label world that Jepsen inhabits, where punctual delivery of “product” is generally expected and a bigger-is-better mindset often prevails. Yet the singer gives credit to her manager, Scooter Braun—who also steers the careers of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and others—for indulging her new path. “I had a moment at my CD release party, at the Troubadour,” she recalls, “where I went over to Scooter and said, ‘I have to thank you. Thank you for your patience with me, and letting me really take my time, and really trusting in the fact that my inspiration would come when it came, naturally. And I know that isn’t normally how this business works. And I’m very honored that you put that trust in me.’ And he said, ‘Well the thing with you, Car, is we basically had that hit. We’re not after that now. And this was a decision to let art win over anything else. And I’m proud of you for that.’” It isn’t obscure or inaccessible art, either. While Jepsen says she wouldn’t mind getting “even weirder” on her next

outing, E•MO•TION is undeniably pop—but pop that pivots away from the relentless thump dominating 21st-century radio, and looks back to that beloved golden era, the ’80s. The synths-and-melodies equation of “Gimme Love”; “Run Away With Me,” with its wobbly sax intro; the funk-lite of “Boy Problems,” a descendant of “Into the Groove”; and the shimmery, smoky outlier “All That”—they all owe a debt to the masters: Madonna, Prince, Janet, and as Jepsen has noted countless times, Cyndi Lauper. It was a performance by the fame-haired icon in Japan several years ago that helped inspire Jepsen to undergo her musical reboot. This summer, in a full-circle experience, she was asked to induct Lauper into the Songwriters Hall of Fame—an event that Jepsen considers her highlight of 2015. “I mean, it wasn’t my career moment, but I was just surprised and honored that I got to be the one to give the speech and introduce this woman,” she says. “And it was just an inspiring night. To hear all these writers, and to kind of appreciate the fact that there is an awards ceremony to honor writing, it was really cool. It made me have future dreams of like, God, I want something like that one day. That’s something to work for.” John norris


10/16/15 4:07 PM

shamir ratcHet ProDUcer

Nothing is quite what it seems with Shamir Bailey, possibly the most 2015 artist to emerge in 2015. Only 21 years old as of November, comfortably postgender and postgenre, Shamir is not interested in being put in a box, musically, personally, sartorially, or otherwise. While his album Ratchet, released in the spring, is an exuberant collection of pop-soul, he’s a selfdescribed “rocker at heart” who once had a high school punk band called Anorexia. He’s from the suburbs of North Las Vegas, several miles (and culturally a galaxy away) from the Strip. There’s the frequent, mistaken notion that he’s a party boy, when in truth, he says, more often than not he’s a “chill, I-need-a-nap type of person.” And there’s the question of his identity. In a year of lurching evolution on our understanding of gender and the trans experience, it’s perhaps only natural that the head-turningly androgynous Shamir would be seen by some as part of a larger paradigm shift. But to be honest, he’d just as soon talk about the music. “It’s so friggin’ weird,” he says matter-of-factly, which is how Shamir says most things. “I thought I would just do music and go and play these shows and be an artist. But after this year, with more people wanting to know more about me and everything, I started to feel like more of an object. Or an item, I guess? It became a weird celebrity thing, which I never expected.” Shamir’s preternaturally high voice may be startling in conversation, but in song it’s drawn comparisons to two late legends: soul and civil rights icon Nina Simone, and the original binary buster, disco diva Sylvester. While Shamir eschews “male” and “female,” he doesn’t identify as trans—and he points out, it wasn’t even a topic of conversation when he debuted in the summer of 2014 with the EP Northtown. “It was strictly about the music. I never got asked about it once.” And there’s much to say about that music. While on one level Ratchet’s cowbell-crazy dancefoor sugar—tracks like “Call It Of, “In for the Kill,” and the dizzying disco of “Head in the Clouds”—is upbeat, it’s also empowered, borne of a young songwriter who developed a refreshing DGAF streak by virtue of being diferent. While Shamir admits that it’s easy for him to be a “very down-on-your-luck type of person,” on the album he wrapped his “observations of the human condition” up in something bright. “I think throughout Ratchet for the most part, the lyrics are very serious and can be dark, but it’s still a very upbeat and positive album,” he explains. “And that’s what I want, I just want to put as much positivity out as possible.” Even the ballad “Darker” goes for inspiration: “It doesn’t get darker unless you expect it to,” he sings—the kind of sentiment that has won Shamir fans among other kids who are living on the margins, fnding their own kind of regular. And for all of Shamir’s reluctance to be an icon, that sort of feedback means something. “I think that’s the best part of it,” he says. “It defnitely warms my heart, especially when kids come up to me and are like, ‘It’s so good to see someone else from the LGBT community, also of color, being a positive role model.’ Because if I sit back and think about it, it’s like, Well shit, I never had that role model.” JN


karl glusman love-scene stealer

The frst thing director Gaspar Noé asked Karl Glusman upon meeting him, during a Skype call, was if the actor was okay with his “erect cock” appearing on the big screen. “I’ve never been someone who’s particularly comfortable with my body,” Glusman, 27, reasons, “but [Noé] is someone I consider to be one of the best contemporary flmmakers—it was almost like a dream come true, that he would even call me.” But he did have his doubts. “I was a little conficted in the beginning about...baring it all,” he says. “Many of my colleagues and friends thought it would be absolutely detrimental to my career. But that ended up making it more alluring. I suppose I thought, Well, if you’re gonna go out you might as well go out in a blaze of glory. Or…a bang.” The flm, Love (in theaters now), through dialogue mostly improvised by its leads—Glusman and two women, neither of whom had ever acted before—and through many, many sex scenes (“love scenes,” Glusman corrects), tells the slightly autobiographical story of a young director’s biggest mistake: the one who got away. “These are two of the bravest women I’ve ever met,” says Glusman of his costars, Aomi Muyock and Klara Kristin, who Noé supposedly met in a club. “They jumped in front of this big, honking camera with all these people watching the monitors. It’s just impressive, you know?” Especially, Glusman notes, considering the double standard that will no doubt apply to them. “A male will go out and do something like this and people might say it’s cool, then turn around and call the woman a whore. It’s just a real shame that our culture has a tendency to do that because I think Aomi and Klara are two of the most empowered people I know.” On top of the fact that Glusman’s frst starring role in a flm asked him to improvise his lines, costar with amateurs, and have on-screen sex that—unlike what the fantasy genre of pornography requires—actually looks loving, Love was shot in 3-D, making it “possibly a frst in cinema, like walking on the moon.” Admittedly, it’s difcult to separate the characters from the actors when watching Love, but this is mostly due to a viewer’s own inherent inhibitions. Love challenges the line between pornography and erotica by showing intercourse minus body doubles. “We wanted the intimacy and the feelings to feel as real as possible for the audience,” Glusman ofers. Coming out the other side of an acting experience so unorthodox, he’s understandably protective. “There’s nothing really pornographic in the movie. If you go on the Internet, you’re going to fnd exactly what you want to fnd, but I think that when you watch our movie you’re going to feel something much diferent.” His career so far hasn’t sufered due to his decision. He’s in Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall. (“Anyone who sees both pictures gets to see both sides of my sexuality,” he laughs). Next up is Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. And when we speak, Glusman’s just left a ftting for Tom Ford’s new flm. “I keep pinching myself,” he says. “My biggest fear is that I’m gonna wake up back in New York in my little shoe box and none of it has happened.” Ns


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10/6/15 12:57 PM

olivia cooke the dying girl

Twenty-year-old Olivia Cooke has just been cast in Steven Spielberg’s next flm, Ready Player One, despite “self-sabotaging” her audition. “He’s really lovely,” the Mancunian gushes, clearly relieved. Filming won’t start for quite some time, but the announcement is placed prominently on her IMDb page, which the very private Cooke fnds odd. She “can’t be bothered” with Twitter or Instagram, she says. “The thing with social media these days is you can’t really say what you want. It’s always going to be judged or backfre. I don’t want to be a spokeswoman unless I’ve really got something worthwhile and important to say. Otherwise, it’s just pictures of, I don’t know, fucking lakes and beaches. It’s like a mum showing pictures of her child.” Technically, and sort of ironically, her breakout role was a nonspeaking part. In a video, flmed to be played behind a One Direction tour, Cooke can be seen gallivanting in a feld with the boy band. “That was just half a day of my life when I was 17,” she sighs. “It was 250 quid. They’d only just come out of The X-Factor so they weren’t even known at all. It’s a bit embarrassing that that was, like, the start of my career.” Next came “screaming at nothing, CGI-ed ghosts” and sufering on-screen illnesses in an array of American and British accents (but never her own rounded northern intonation). She gasps and cries in The Quiet Ones, Blackout,

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The Signal, Ouija, the forthcoming Limehouse Golem, and in an ongoing role in the TV prequel to the horror flm of all horror flms, Bates Motel. Here, Cooke’s character is not only dangerously close to the young Norman Bates, slowly discovering his psychotic tendencies, but she often needs a respirator for shortness of breath due to cystic fbrosis. Arguably, Cooke’s real breakout wasn’t until this year, when she played Rachel, a teen with leukemia, in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, based on the popular Jesse Andrews novel. The screenplay, also written by Andrews, intentionally wafes between sentimentality and distraction through its referencing of classic independent flm. The clever format is telling of its characters’ hyper-researched generation and also of the way anyone, young or old, handles tragic loss. Devoted to the role, Cooke opted to shave her head halfway through flming instead of wearing a skullcap for when her character undergoes chemotherapy. (The studio promised to pay for the $10,000 wig she’d need for continuity in Bates Motel, Cooke confdes.) Authenticity has no price. “[Rachel]’s a totally real-life character,” says Cooke. “You don’t want her to just be another Manic Pixie Dream Girl that just comes in and changes this guy’s life and then edges away slowly, saying all these really profound things in her last moments of life. She’s human, completely human.”

For her starring role in the forthcoming Katie Says Goodbye, the freedom that came from what she calls “barebones drama” (meaning no horror or illness to muddy a character’s emotional distress) completely changed Cooke’s way of thinking. Katie, a small-town Arizona diner waitress, prostitutes herself after hours. “She wouldn’t call herself a prostitute, though,” Cooke corrects. “Sex isn’t a taboo subject for her. She sees this as a simple transaction—she makes these guys happy and she gets paid for it. I don’t want to go on the bandwagon of how women are perceived in flms, but it was so freeing for me to be liberated of any inhibitions, any embarrassment.” Without having seen a cut of the flm, she’s ready to defend its depiction of sexuality, if only for the sake of variety. “You never really see a woman being pleasured in flm,” she says. “You see a woman getting raped or beaten, or seen as the jailbait, or she’s the old hag, but you’ll never see a woman in control of all of her sex. It’s a weird thing in America when you’ll see someone’s head being blown of more than you’ll see someone having a loving, intimate sex scene—which actually happens all the time. Rarely does someone’s head get blown of.” NS


10/6/15 12:58 PM

Digital technician Carlo Barreto Photo assistants Roeg Cohen, Nick Krasznai, Ian Barling, Ayesha Malik Stylist assistants Coco Campbell and Paulina Olivares Hair assistant Erin Herschleb Location Pier 59 Studios Location (Years & Years and AyaBambi) Fast Ashleys


“People never expect us to say something smart,” confesses Emre Turkmen, synth player for Years & Years. “Or blunt.” Why would that be? Is it because the eminently danceable synthpop they make leads people to assume they have nothing to say? Rest assured that Turkmen, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and singer-cum-pop-culture-avatar Olly Alexander—are whip-smart, have plenty to say, can in fact be blunt, and are currently caught up in the whirlwind of being the U.K.’s most talked about new act of the year. British bands hoping to break America usually must, as Alexander says, “Either tour a shitload, or go out and promo everywhere and get on Top 40 radio, which is mindboggling because there’s like 5 million radio stations.” But Years & Years did neither in 2015. And yet, on the frst night of a North American tour in September, the 3,000-capacity Terminal 5 in New York was packed to bursting with the sort of fans who sang every word. That’s likely because July’s Communion is a record so infectious it refuses to be ignored: a string of sparkling R&B pop jams, a couple of aching ballads, but mostly dance foor fllers, led by Alexander’s voice, at once soulful and wistful, and an insane collection of ear-candy hooks, particularly on “King,” as fawless a pop single as was released in 2015, with a perfectly chest-bursting chorus. “Yeah, well, Olly is a living

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hook,” says Turkmen. Goldsworthy adds, “He’s Captain Hook.” It wasn’t always that way. Years & Years began in 2010 as a diferent kind of group—a quirky indie-pop fve-piece that featured guitar and ukulele, and mustered U.S. blog attention with the 2012 single, “I Wish I Knew.” Soon though, they began what Goldsworthy calls a “gradual evolution” to something more electronic. Turkmen turned to beats and synths, having gotten “seriously bored” with guitar. Meanwhile, Alexander was learning that when it comes to songwriting, less is sometimes more. “I used to write in a really convoluted way,” he says. Eventually, he stopped being afraid of the simplicity of pop music, and appreciated the paring-down skills of Y&Y producer Mark Ralph. “Suddenly, it worked. It just all came together.” Parallel to the rise of Y&Y has been Alexander’s own burgeoning profle as a gay icon, in Britain and beyond. With an acting career stretching back to his teens, the 25-yearold has boundless charisma, his lyrics make no-big-deal reference to guys and use male pronouns, and he has no hesitation discussing his much-publicized yearlong relationship with Clean Bandit’s Neil Amin-Smith. “I can either speak about it, or try and keep it very quiet,” he says. “And why do that? Also, I think that if you’re really open about yourself, willing to give a bit to the media or whatever, they

won’t go hunting for it so much. There’s no story there.” Just as heartening is Alexander’s frank outspokenness on Twitter and elsewhere, where he’s given a thumbs-up to new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and LGBT campaigns the world over, and excoriated the likes of Prime Minister David Cameron, sexism, lazy journalism, and general smallmindedness. In a world of pop tyros with an eye on the bottom line, who never utter a controversial word, we could use more of Alexander’s kind of sociopolitical cojones. What’s more, says Turkmen, “We’ve never thought, We can’t say this because of how it might play in some market. That kind of thinking is anathema to who we are.” Y&Y began the year by winning the BBC’s annual Sound Of… poll, and they’ve had a string of pinch-yourself moments ever since: the BRIT Awards, SXSW, The Tonight Show. And their charmed life doesn’t look to fnish any time soon. “It’s like you’re rewriting the expectations of your life,” says Alexander. “You keep experiencing things that you thought were out of the realm of possibility.” JN


10/6/15 12:58 PM

Makeup and grooming Marla Belt (Streeters London) Grooming (Shamir) Bill Westmoreland (Art + Commerce) Hair Neil Grupp (The Wall Group) Hair (Olivia Cooke) David von Cannon (Streeters) Hair (Years & Years and AyaBambi) Tamara Mcnaughton (Management + Artists) Manicure Naomi Yasuda (Streeters)


Japanese by birth but seemingly dropped in from another planet, Aya Sato and her partner in work and life, Bambi, are the latest in a decades-long series of young creative types to have been discovered, employed, and elevated to global attention by Madonna. Their jaw-dropping dance routines are complex, rapid-fre, and performed with such discipline and synchronization that they suggest a pair with some greater personal connection, which in fact they have. Engaged to be married, they’re a couple so inseparable and attuned to one another that they’ve taken to styling their name as one: AyaBambi. Sitting down with them for a rare interview, it becomes quickly apparent that Aya is the alpha in the relationship. “This tour has been a huge thing for us,” she says, explaining that until this year, Bambi had never been outside of Japan. It’s only a few dates into the Rebel Heart tour, but Aya says there are no nerves, not even on opening night, due in large part to nearly four months of grueling rehearsals. “It was really long days and tough of course, but we defnitely needed it,” she explains. And while Madonna lived up to her exacting, micromanaging reputation, frequently making upending changes from costumes to choreography, Aya gets it. “Of course, because it’s her show,” she says, “everything has to look perfect.” It was one of AyaBambi’s eye-popping dance videos that landed them this life-changing gig, when Madonna’s daughter,

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Lourdes, found them on YouTube. Soon, the girls were on a plane to London for February’s BRIT Awards, where AyaBambi made their Madonna debut in “Living for Love,” and pulled the cape that led to the fall seen ’round the world. While a costume tied on too tightly was to blame—Madonna has since said as much publicly—in the moment, AyaBambi were stunned. “We were so scared,” Aya recalls. “That was our frst show with her.” While Madonna was only down for a matter of seconds before getting up and soldiering on, Aya says it felt like an hour. “And she is the kindest person,” recalls Aya. “The next day she was asking, ‘How are Aya and Bambi?’ Because she knew we were worried.” Aya’s signature choreography has been described as an update of vogueing, though she doesn’t necessarily see it that way. “I’ve trained in a lot of styles—jazz, hip-hop, and ballet,” she says. “I picked out everything that I liked and started doing it like this. It seems like vogue, only really fast and doing creepy stuf.” Her penchant for the weird is apparent in AyaBambi’s presentation—normally stone-faced, even glowering. “What is sexy for me is kind of like a mannequin,” she explains. “They’re not doing anything, they’re not smiling, no expression, and they’re defnitely not trying to be sexy. But to me that is sexy and beautiful.” Throughout our conversation, Bambi has barely mustered

three words. I’m told it’s a language barrier, though she seems to laugh and react in all the right places. She clutches tightly to a little white teddy bear named Meringue, given to her last Christmas “by Santa Claus” while Aya recounts when they frst met. It was three years ago at a dance audition in Japan, where Aya had returned from a sabbatical in Los Angeles. Numbers were exchanged and Bambi became a student of Aya’s, then an assistant, and then more. Today, even though Aya choreographs their routines, it’s Bambi who remembers them. “Her brain is amazing that way,” says Aya. “She’s like my computer.” Of course, it’s not only Bambi’s brain that attracts Aya. “I need her in every part of my life,” she says. “She is also my pretty, beautiful wife. Well, not yet, but…soon.” The couple hopes to get married once the Rebel Heart tour ends in the spring—though where that will happen is in question, since same-sex unions remain illegal in Japan. As for projects postMadonna, “I have no idea,” Aya says. “I love dancing, but I love creating everything. We love fashion and makeup and styling and art. I hope there are more exciting things coming.” JN


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words brad pItt

photography Inez & vInoodh

fashIon davId vandewal

“It was probably not the wIsest way to spend a honeymoon,” brad pItt says of fIlmIng by the sea, a tale of a dIsIntegratIng marrIage costarrIng and dIrected by hIs wIfe, angelIna jolIe-pItt. “but then agaIn, fIghtIng to make somethIng together…what better metaphor for marrIage? It’s not a fIlm that responds to the current zeItgeIst or mode of storytellIng—rather, a quIet, mature look at the challenges of love and adult loss.” here, In hIs own words, hollywood’s ultImate leadIng man lays bare the experIence of actIng out a bruIsed and bewIldered relatIonshIp, and beIng dIrected by hIs costar In lIfe V MAGAZINE 76

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“Mr. and Mrs. sMith this is not. By the sea deals with that period when the honeyMoon is well over and the couple is faced with the Banality of every day and the pains of the unplanned. there are no hallMark cards that define the next chapter, or the value of a history together. so who are you?” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 78

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SunglaSSeS (throughout) Matsuda

“Naturally I dIdN’t waNt to faIl aNgIe’s Ideas…her words…but really I had absolute faIth we’d fIgure It out.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 79

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Sweater (tHrOUGHOUt) Michael Kors NeCKLaCe (tHrOUGHOUt) PItt’S OwN

“I play a good drunk because I’ve been a good drunk.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 80

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Coat vintage

“The plan was To make someThing TogeTher, wiTh compleTe auTonomy, in The fooTsTeps of gena [rowlands] and John [cassaveTes]—and keep iT a family affair. we, by our own admission, were overdue. if i’m going To work, i wanT To work wiTh my wife.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 81

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Shirt (thrOUGhOUt) vintaGe Wrangler tie (thrOUGhOUt) Tom Ford

“For this one i operated on pure instinct. angie and i have too much history and understanding oF each other to question beyond there. at the end oF the day, we get to be parents, greeting our lovely, crazy children and talking about their day, making sure they brush their teeth, so all the tension From our day is tabled…until the next.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 82

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“it’s surprising how much i enjoy the direction of my wife. she’s decisive, incredibly intuitive, knife-sharp, and might i say, sexy at her post. i trust her with my life.” 20960_083 INEZ_rev.indd 83

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“My tonal diversity in characters has been by design and coMes froM that restless itch for adventure and to discover More. it reMains the saMe at any age.� 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 84

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“I owe my love of fIlm to my parents and the neIghborhood drIve-In theater. I spent much of my summers sIttIng on the hood enjoyIng a late-nIght double feature wIth my famIly, but In my own world, of course.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 85

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Jacket Dior Homme Sweater BurBerry Prorsum Shirt NuDie JeaNs Necklace viNtage Gucci

grOOMiNg JeaN Black hair ward (the wall grOup) Manicure april ForeMan (The Wall Group) producTion Ge projecTs and ThecollecTiveshiFT diGiTal Technician Brian anderson sTudio ManaGer Marc Kroop liGhTinG direcTor jodoKus driessen phoTo assisTanTs BarTon jahncKe and jaMes perry vlM producer jeFF lepine sTylisT assisTanTs daniel Gaines and elizaBeTh carvalho Tailor hasMiK Kourinian MoTorhoMes alcheMy vanlines locaTion paraMounT sTudios, hollyWood

“The facT ThaT we can spend years developing a projecT ThaT Then becomes parT of The year’s culTural narraTive is The greaTesT reward of all. whaT i know is ThaT when our kids see These films as adulTs, They’ll noT jusT undersTand whaT Their parenTs were afTer in a performance, buT They will recall our Time There TogeTher as a family and The memories made.” 20960_076_087 INEZ.indd 86

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Above and opposite: Miley Cyrus, The Caitlyn Jenner Collection, 2015; photos Natasha Moustache Miley Cyrus is the founder of Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonproft organization fghting for justice in LGBT communities


While sworn to secrecy and waiting for the world to see the beauty that was about to be reborn, the anticipation of the Vanity Fair cover unveiling already had me wondering, Who is Caitlyn Jenner? But the better question was, What is she wearing? What’s her hairstyle? Does she like lip gloss or lipstick? I had so many fantasies for her look, that as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, I couldn’t wait to bring them to life in paintings. Just a few weeks after the VF reveal was the amfAR Inspiration Gala New York, where I

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received the Inspiration Award and had the opportunity to talk to such an impactful room of people about all of Happy Hippie Foundation’s recent missions and our future ones. After being so inspired myself, not only by Caitlyn’s story but by all of the amazing trans people around the world, it was the perfect place to auction these pieces, which sold for $69,000 (perfect number, don’t ya think?) to help this incredible foundation dig deeper into AIDS research and get these valuable lives that are in jeopardy closer to a cure. MILEY CYRUS

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Talwst, Thea (Rowdy), 2015; mixed media, 2¼ x 2¼ x 2½ inches; photo Ryan Thompson


Rowdy Ronda Rousey is a modern-day Athena—a vision of strength, courage, and strategy. Her athletic artistry has allowed her to dominate the sport of mixed martial arts from the day she entered the league, as well as inspire others. In 2015 Rousey took huge strides in diminishing existing gender biases in her discipline and set a number of records. She became the frst female to win the ESPY Fighter of the Year award, meaning she is considered the best fghter pound for pound in the world. As Athena, the patron goddess of heroism and defender

of truth and justice, in her victorious moment on the podium Rousey exposed her rival, Floyd Mayweather’s, domestic abuse history. In Thea (Rowdy), Rousey is depicted on her own island. Just as Athena defeated Poseidon, so, too, has Rousey triumphed and she stands with her arms raised in victory, her fallen opponent limp at her side. Her fgure is a composite of her contemporary image and that of her mythical foremother, Athena, holding the golden spear, a vision of mental and physical female strength. taLWSt

Katy Grannan, Deb with Friend, by Tuolumne River, Modesto, CA, 2013 (still from The Nine, 2015)


I’ve spent the last seven years working in California’s Central Valley, a place that’s been described as the California no tourist would come to see. The disparity here is quite shocking—endless green felds irrigated for massive agribusiness alongside the drought-aficted,

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parched landscape and isolated communities. I’ve grown to love this unforgiving place and the people that live here, without delusion, on the other side of the American Dream.

Katy Grannan

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Bjarne Melgaard, Untitled, 2015 (excerpt from To Our Friends by The Invisible Committee, published April 2015 by Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)

the coming revolution

To Our Friends is the latest publication from The Invisible Committee, an ultra-left-wing anarchist group. I want to promote new ways of deconstructing society. BJARNE MELGAARD

To Our Friends is a report on the state of the world and of the movement, a piece of writing that’s essentially strategic and openly partisan. Its political ambition is immodest: to produce a shared understanding of the epoch, in spite of the extreme confusion of the present.


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Yoan Capote, Immanence, 2015; hinges, wood doors, metal armature, 305 x 457 x 457 cm (variable dimensions) ŠYoan Capote, courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York


The change in Cuba and U.S. relations could make us think about Hegel’s theory of the dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis). But it is very difcult to give an informed opinion about the present situation, and even more so concerning the future, because we are talking about

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two countries where the past is still a strong center of gravity. Anyway, at the moment a lot of people are getting the chance to be optimistic, and optimism is a frst step for any positive action. YOAN CAPOTE

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Robert Longo, St. Louis Rams (Hands Up), 2015; charcoal on mounted paper, 65 x 120 inches


This drawing depicts Kenny Britt, #81 wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams, entering the feld during the introduction ceremony on Sunday, November 30, 2014. Britt initiated the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture alongside four of his teammates (the Rams receiving corps). The fve players held up their hands while entering the feld as a gesture of support for and solidarity with the Ferguson community and protesters after the shooting by a police ofcer of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.

This “hands up” gesture on a football feld is paradoxical because of its similarity to the ofcial gesture marking a touchdown. With its use of war terminology and combat, football is modern-day America’s gladiator game, a sport that ancient Rome perpetuated in an efort to keep the populace in a constant state of war. The similarity between football’s athletic equipment and police armor calls to mind the images of the absurd police militarization in Ferguson. ROBERT LONGO

Rashid Johnson, Untitled Anxious Men, 2015; white ceramic tile, black soap, wax, 47½ x 34½ x 2 inches © Rashid Johnson, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photo Martin Parsekian


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Richard Phillips, For Taylor, 2015; oil and wax emulsion on linen, 68 x 50¹/5 inches; courtesy Richard Phillips Studio; photo Martin Parsekian


For Taylor explores the confuence of contemporary global realism with a digitally corrupted VMA press-line image hovering over a “Bad Blood” pyrotechnic–inspired capture of the recent explosion in Tianjin. RICHARD PHILLIPS

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Catherine Opie, My Rainbow Summer, 2015; courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong


My Rainbow Summer is the year 2015. A beautiful color spectrum appeared to me over Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite earlier this year as a prediction of the Supreme Court’s announcement of

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marriage equality for all. The White House celebrated by lighting its façade in rainbow colors. I celebrate 2015 with the rainbow in Bridalveil Fall; it is my own personal omen. Catherine Opie

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at the mtv video music awards this august, miley cyrus closed the show with a surprise performance by her new band, miley cyrus & her dead petz. consisting of cyrus and her friends, the flaming lips, her dead petz brought the house down in explosive, rainbow-colored fashion with their new song, “dooo it!� they also brought a flock of fan-favorite drag superstars onstage and gave them a worldwide platform in the process photography vijat mohindra text laganja estranja V MAGAZINE 9 6

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photography hedi slimane haute couture has never felt more modern than this moment. as hedi slimane brings yves saint laurent back into the gilded fold, he fixes his lens on breakout model ruth bell, in breathtaking looks from paris’s premier ateliers fashion sarah m richardson V MAGAZINE 9 8

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Givenchy haute couture By riccardo tisci Invisible lace dress in pale violet with embroidered stars

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Embroidered velvet circular skirt in navy with bra

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Chanel haute Couture

Pale violet dress hemmed with 3-D-efect embroidery of crystal tubes and trimmed with a band of beaded silk tulle

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YVES SAINT LAURENT COUTURE bY hEdI SLImANE All-over embroidered fying cape worn with stylist’s own briefs

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Silk chifon dress in pale blue with cannage jeweled gilet

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Silk velvet dress in black embroidered with silk threads, Swarovski crystals, and multicolored sequins

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Valentino haute couture

Silk velvet dress in antique black with asymmetrical drape

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Savile Row wool mohair smoking dress in black with French silk ottoman lining “draped-in-haste”

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Black-mink-on-vinyl column dress worn with stylist’s own briefs

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Makeup aaron de Mey (art partner) Model ruth Bell (Society) Manicure Jenna Hipp (nailing Hollywood) production KiM pollocK and yann rzepKa digital tecHnician alex tHeMistocleous (MilK studios) tailor Jade yee-gorn pHoto assistants FranK terry, Matt Hartz, JaMes perry stylist assistant sue-wen QueK MaKeup assistant tayler treadwell retoucHing dtoucH eQuipMent MilK studios location Quixote studios catering Food lab

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Chainmail-embroidered minidress with Swarovksi crystals and pleated georgette in black

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MAkEUP FULvIA FAROLFI FOR CHANEL (BRYAN BANTRY) HAIR TOMO JIDAI USING ORIBE HAIRCARE (STREETERS) MODEL GEMMA WARD (IMG) Manicure rica roMain using Zoya (LMc WorLdWide) Production JuLia HackeL (intrePid), HeLena MarteL seWard (HMs Production), MireLLa cHeeseMan digitaL tecHnician devin doyLe (caPture BLue) PHoto assistant cHris rHodes styList assistants Louise Ford, aLison Marie isBeLL, steLLa evans MakeuP assistant roBert reyes Hair assistant yusuke Miura PostProduction 44 studio

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in the grand cultural lineage of grace jones, brigitte nielsen, and tilda swinton, gwendoline christie is reordering society’s view of androgynous, powerful glamour. as the towering british talent scales the summit of hollywood with this winter’s star wars and the hunger games—and continues her beloved reign on hbo’s game of thrones—she kicks back to take in the long view of a rise less ordinary photography sølve sundsbø fashion robbie spencer text paul flynn V MAGAZINE 121

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“I’m tryIng to say what I can wIthout beIng kIlled. I don’t mInd It because It’s a really delIghtful feelIng to keep that kInd of secret.”—gwendolIne chrIstIe, on star wars: epIsode VII – the force awakens 20960_120_127 GWENDOLINE.indd 123


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When she was a student at Drama Centre London, Gwendoline Christie told the school administrator, Maggie Wilkinson, a tiny white lie. By way of induction, it’s customary for frst-year students to help with the production of graduating third-year shows. When she was handed a wrench and told to disassemble a stage, Christie thought, I can’t do that, I’m wearing a Sonia Rykiel jumper. She told Maggie instead that she was a dab hand at fling. As an actor, Christie is living proof that in the most curious acts, magic lies. And so it goes. The following Christmas, Ms. Wilkinson recalled Christie’s administrative admission and asked if she would like a job for the holidays. The fabulous British character actor Simon Callow had asked if there was a student who would catalog his 4,000-strong compact disc collection. “Mainly classical,” notes Christie now. “Quite esoteric.” Over an early lunch of smoked salmon and avocado at the Downton-ish central London restaurant, the Delaunay, she explains it was Callow who showed her a way to be an actor of integrity and ambition. “He was a very, very strong fgure at the forefront of my development into adulthood.” She pauses. “Which came late.” Another pause. “Which might not have happened yet.” She laughs. She is wearing a vintage longer-than-foor-length Hussein Chalayan black shift, “so that I can be my own lady-in-waiting, holding my train,” and “a simple Chanel pump” (not simple at all, as she admirably shows by placing her right foot on the table). Christie went on to work for Callow on and of for years, through the downtime of her early career—researching and collating materials for his memoir and walking his two beloved boxer dogs across Hampstead Heath. Callow is one of the grandees of British theater, probably still best known to populist audiences for his funeral in Four Weddings and… “He gave me a key to the house and said, ‘Make yourself at home, I trust you.’ To show someone who is struggling such kindness, to say, ‘Child, never give up,’ for nearly eight years? He did it without regard for how it would refect on him. He’s unselfsh and a big part of why I had the confdence to inhabit who I am. Because he was one of the frst, maybe the frst British actor to be openly homosexual at the start of his career and be unapologetic about it all. I miss him. You can’t replicate that kind of artistic patronage.” For a spell after drama school, it looked like Christie’s work would be strictly stage. Her presence has always been on the captivating side of astonishing. She’d nailed Lady Macbeth by 15 at school. Was she ready to act as the architect of her husband’s demise as a teenager? “So ready. I

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was ready years before. Born ready for it. There were a lot of years of being marginalized, a lot of not ftting in.” Her frst professional booking was as Mrs. Hubble in artistic director Declan Donnellan’s 2005 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Great Expectations, in association with the theater company Cheek by Jowl. She understudied Siân Phillips’s Miss Havisham. “That was a really incredible experience, particularly for somebody who had always been told ‘No.’” After years of touring regional theater productions and a spell in the West End in a Breakfast at Tifany’s revival, she spoke with her agent about the possibility of screen work, mentioning that she would love to score an HBO series. “He said, ‘Good luck!’” This year has been Christie’s annus mirabilis. As 2015 draws to a close, she is at the forefront of three epic screen franchises in roles that will be beloved forever: as Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s Game of Thrones, Commander Lyme in the forthcoming Hunger Games denouement, and as Captain Phasma in the most anticipated flm of the year, Star Wars. When she says “Captain Phasma,” she wraps her lips around the words with relish. As well as her sharp, cerebral mind, Christie is a profoundly physical performer. I ask her to repeat the words. “Captain Phasma,” she says. I wish you could hear it. You will soon. On all three flms, she is bound by so many contract clauses of silence that any story on Christie wends its way back to the actor herself. “I’m trying to say what I can without being killed,” she says at one point about Star Wars. When she was frst cast in the flm, she kept the information to herself without telling anybody for six weeks. “I don’t mind it because it’s a really delightful feeling to keep that kind of secret,” she says. “I would have never, ever thought I would be able to browse around town holding a secret like that.” Due to her science fction/fantasy omnipotence, Christie is currently available in several diferent forms of doll, and is the voice of a Captain Phasma face mask at the Disney store. When I tell her I have tried her on, she says, “You’ve not, you dirty bugger...It’s insane, isn’t it?” While every actor dreams of leading roles, few dream of becoming Christmas presents. Though Christie falls somewhere in the lineage of Brigitte Nielsen or Grace Jones, those ’80s icons of sheer screen physicality, she has a deeper, more refective strand to her. She namechecks Tilda Swinton in Sally Potter’s Orlando and the flms of Jane Campion as early signposts for where she might, at over six feet tall and possessed of an instantly familiar disposition, ft in on screen. She was 13 when she

frst saw Orlando. “I thought, There could be a place for me. Because she was something else and yet totally herself, existing completely outside of society’s homogenous view of what a woman should be.” She snuck into town twice as a schoolgirl to see The Piano. “It wasn’t that I knew it was by a female flmmaker, it just said something about the journey of a woman that didn’t seem to be said anywhere else. It was an exploration of femininity in a way that I had never known one.” For fve years now Christie has been allotting six months of her diary to flming Game of Thrones, a part she bartered for hard and one that anointed her as the star she was born to be. “I truly thought,” she says, of frst reading George R. R. Martin’s books, “that if this part is depicted in truly unadulterated fashion in a television show, this could possibly change, even slightly, the way people view women. I got really excited by the fact that there was a part for a woman who was outside of society, who was very tall, who wasn’t conventionally attractive, but who we fell in love with because of her actions and because of her ongoing pursuit of overcoming obstacles for the greater good.” First as a schoolgirl, then as a casual fxture among London’s left feld nightlife elite, and now as an actor and flm star, Christie is used to being stared at. “I think because I’ve always been tall—I reached this height at around 14—I have been used to being looked at and it could be very diffcult. I was very tall at 12, and even younger, so I suppose when you have so many years of that kind of experience you have to make a decision as to what you’re going to do with it.” Thrones helped locate her cause. “I felt that this part could give me the opportunity to be forced to acknowledge and embrace those elements of myself that I felt were not so feminine. I had to acknowledge my height and my masculinity. I also had to acknowledge my femininity and fgure out what that was exactly—something more than attributes or clothing and hair—whether my femininity was something intrinsic and not related to wearing a dress or makeup.” Something strikes her as the bill arrives. “This has never occurred to me before,” she says, thinking back to the beginnings of her brilliant professional life. “If I had to say that somebody has infuenced some part of my portrayal of Brienne of Tarth, then I would say that Simon Callow and his overriding sense of moral good has been it.” She leaves, vowing to get back in touch with her early mentor.


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“[I was] born ready for It. there were a lot of years of beIng margInalIzed, a lot of not fIttIng In.”—gwendolIne ChrIstIe

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MakEuP ISaMaYa FFrENch (STrEETErS LONdON) haIr SYd haYES (PrEMIEr haIr aNd MakEuP) Manicure adaM Slee (StreeterS london) Production Sally dawSon and Paula ekenger digital technician anna hendry Photo aSSiStantS SiMon Mcguigan, JaMeS whitty, MagnuS anderSen StyliSt aSSiStant katy Fox MakeuP aSSiStantS JoSh wilkS and choe ledrezen hair aSSiStant hannah Joy Bull location and equiPMent SPring StudioS london VideograPher SaMuel StePhenSon

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You started as a model. Had you intended to continue that work before falling ill and later moving to Hollywood? LUCILLE BALL Actually, yes. I would have dabbled in theater




either way, but when I got sick it was a wonderful opportunity to really look at my life and just go for it. Believe me, only people who have been really sick understand what it is like to be the living dead. I was going to have another chance at being alive, why not have the best life? CBS was at frst reluctant to introduce the world to your and Desi’s relationship in I Love Lucy. Why did you insist that he play your husband on the show? LB Everything I was on seemed to have people falling out here and there and it really slowed me down. I thought I could rely on Desi on and of the set. Secondly, I knew his infectious personality would be something diferent that would win our country over, like he did with me. And I wanted him with me as much as possible. What did the executives say about a mixed-race couple on TV? LB Ha! It was a quick battle. I made it so. I persuaded them to rely on the concept of the show with the momentum of the radio series. If Desi didn’t have an accent and if he had




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Lucille Ball in a scene from the flm Critic’s Choice, 1963. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

It was recently announced that Aaron Sorkin is working on a biopic about one of the most groundbreaking comedians of our time, reminding the collective conscience that Lucille Ball (1911–1989) deserves a visit. The flm, set to star Cate Blanchett, and to be produced by Ball and ex-husband Desi Arnaz’s children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., will follow the prolifc performer of I Love Lucy fame through a pressurecooked 20-year marriage. Yet Ball had much to ofer after that story ended, as she was not only a hugely successful Emmyand Golden Globe-winning comedic writer and actor, but a notably savvy businessperson as well. Ball closed some of the most talked-about deals in showbiz, and she was the frst woman to head a production company, Desilu Productions. Here, the late comic and mogul speaks with psychic Jesse Bravo about how to be a boss.

changed his name no one would have even known. If anything, the writers had a larger amount of material to play with. What was the public’s reaction and how did it change? LB Like anything in life it took about 20 seconds. What everyone was watching was an extension of themselves—of course wrapped up in insanity. Second, it allowed the woman’s role for once to push through the norms of the socially “right” wife. It let women dream and have fun. Third, the show let us show that relationships are always challenging and the only way to stay together is to fnd solutions with love. What was the fnal straw before you and Desi divorced? LB Things were rocky right from the start of our marriage. With our success, the studio, I knew...well, I knew. With a man like Desi—he was passionate, a magnet—with men like him you need to be with them all the time or they fnd other things that catch their attention. And how did your fans react to that? LB They were heartbroken because all they knew was what they saw on TV, and as we all know, TV isn’t real life. When we divorced, all those wonderful people had to come to the sad conclusion that not everything works out. Surprise! Do you think Cate Blanchett is the right ft to play you? LB I like the ability of Cate as an actor, though she doesn’t have the funny bug in her. I’m sure she’ll do a great job portraying me of-camera, but won’t come close to portraying me on. What do you hope this flm gets across about your life? LB I hope it shows how boundaries can always be broken by anyone, and that sometimes you don’t know what you want in life and that’s okay because one day it will come. You’ve said that comedy cannot be taught, and that “you either have it or you don’t” during a comedy workshop. Why teach a workshop if comedy can’t be taught? LB Because some people have it and don’t know it until they’re in the right environment, where they can really explore the boundaries of their humor without judgment. Was being a female an asset to your success, or did it often get in the way? LB My era was a tough one for women in general, but it also had its advantages. Everyone thought I didn’t know what I was doing. As a result, many dropped the ball because they didn’t take me seriously. But my being a woman meant they also couldn’t come at me as hard. And that was the game right there. I played stupid and laughed all the way to bank. You have stated that when you registered as a communist multiple times, it was not because you ever intended to vote that way. Now that you can’t get in trouble, can you clear up if you felt strongly about socialism in America? LB It was a dumb move to open my mouth and those were suspicious times and there was no way to explain myself. Now I will say that I lived a very rich life and there were many people really struggling to just live. I always said to myself, If I had to pay more in taxes would my life really change? No, it wouldn’t. So I don’t see myself as a communist, but more of a socialist. Back then, there seemed to be no diference. Have you been reincarnated? LB No. I’m just enjoying the show. You paved the way for many female comedians. Is there anyone working today that you admire? LB I love Iliza Shlesinger. In order to be funny, you have to know how to approach a story and tell it in a way that opens the truth without ofending, so everyone can share that truth with you. Are there any comedians today whose work you don’t like? LB They are all great until it gets disgusting. Do you have any regrets? LB No way. What does no one know about you that you wish they did? LB My one little thing is that even though I achieved so much, I still wanted to reach new heights. Having the studio allowed me to participate in small ways, but I really wanted to get back to the big show and it didn’t turn out that way. I wanted it bad. My determination and striving never really stopped. Deep down inside I needed recognition. It’s not meant to be sad, but it is my truth.


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