Like great literature and art, some movies are gifts to the world. Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, about a couturier in 1950s London, falls into that category. Perhaps for the first time on the big screen, it shows the taxing process of making clothes, and the emotional price that artists must often pay to express their vision. It is also a compelling love story that explores the intimate and complicated relationship between artists and their muses.
The fictional couturier Reynolds Woodcock, masterfully played by Daniel Day-Lewis in one of the best—and, according to him, the last—performances of his career, embodies in my opinion the spirit of Charles James, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and even Azzedine Alaïa. The fashion world nowadays is radically different than it was in the 1950s—in our global economy, conglomerates exert corporate control on designers, and the tension between art and commerce is more salient than ever. Still, as Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg makes clear in her profile of Day-Lewis (“Daniel Day-Lewis Has Hung Up His Hat,”) the process of creation, whether you’re an actor today or a designer half a century ago, remains very much the same.
Giving and receiving was on all of our minds at W when we started putting together our holiday issue. We discussed how gifts should be not just material but also emotional and experiential—travel and wellness are the new diamonds! In that spirit, we created a special section asking people we love and admire—including Martha Stewart, Lynn Wyatt, and Georgina Bloomberg—to share with us what they plan to give or hope to receive (“Naughty and Nice”).
We also asked our Contributing Fashion Creative Director, Katie Grand, to choose the best looks from the cruise collections, photographed on a diverse cast of her favorite models (“Mighty Aphrodites”). Finally, our Contributing European Editor, Gianluca Longo, traveled to the Engadine Valley, in Switzerland, to meet a group of women who are as chic as they are accomplished (“Valley Girls”). If they don’t put you in the mood for a holiday getaway, nothing will!
Watch: Five of Daniel Day Lewis's Most Transformative Performances