How Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig and Luca Guadagnino Ended Up Directing W Magazine Covers

These filmmakers have dramatically different interests, but they are, in our opinion, the most innovative talents right now.

As I thought about the spring collections while planning this issue, I realized that my favorite shows shared a cinematic quality and a certain eerie atmosphere. At Undercover, twins reminiscent of the girls in The Shining modeled the clothes; at Prada I was reminded of Fassbinder’s early films; and Louis Vuitton brought to mind Interview With the ­Vampire. Inspired by the narrative that film can bring to fashion (and vice versa), we asked Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, and Luca ­Guadagnino to create fashion portfolios starring their favorite women of the moment. As Style Director Sara Moonves discovered during the shoots, these filmmakers have dramatically different interests, but they are, in our opinion, the most innovative talents right now. Not surprisingly, they ended up collecting a multitude of Oscar nominations, including, for each of them, best picture of the year.

Collier Schorr, Janelle Monáe, and Jordan Peele, on set for their W cover shoot. Monáe wears a Michael Kors Collection jacket and pants; Charvet shirt; Oliver Peoples glasses; Eytys shoes. Photograph by Sara Moonves.

Peele, who wrote and directed the politically charged surprise blockbuster Get Out, chose Janelle Monáe to play a Hitchcock hero—a role that was, back in the day, reserved exclusively for white men. Working with Collier Schorr, a female photographer, he subverted gender and racial stereotypes in an androgynous thriller. “I wanted to create a Hitchcock moment that doesn’t really exist in a Hitchcock film,” Peele explained. “I’ve come to think of gender and race as related in a civil rights sense.” Meanwhile, Gerwig, the writer and director of the inspiring coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird, invited the eccentric musician Florence Welch to portray a housewife with a wild imagination who inhabits a weathered suburban house populated by butterflies and a pet pig. Gerwig, who asked the artist Tina Barney to take the pictures on set, summed up the idea: “It’s like Safe meets Grey Gardens meets Rosemary’s Baby. It’s Florence’s dark fantasy—trapped in a house as a housewife forever.” Finally, my friend Luca Guadagnino, who adapted André Aciman’s novel Call Me by Your Name into one of last year’s most beautiful films, cast the models Adwoa Aboah and Rianne van Rompaey as ghostly sisters lost in the American landscape. “I don’t know what stories I want to tell,” Guadagnino said. “I know what I want to do. I want to make movies that are capable of creating an emotional shock. Whether it is a shock of tenderness or a shock of horror, I’d like to provoke a very strong emotion.” In order to convey the cinematic nature of this project—and to make this issue a true collectible—we created film posters as the openers to these stories.

Greta Gerwig, who directed the shoot, with Polka on set. Photograph by Sara Moonves.

Something that is always part of our mission at W—but that we wanted to stress even more this spring—is making sure we feature strong women who challenge conventions. That’s why the writer Holly ­Brubach met Glenda Jackson, the feminist icon and former Labour Party MP, who is back on Broadway at the age of 81 and still has plenty to say about the state of the world; William ­Middleton, in an exclusive excerpt from his book Double Vision, gave us a peek into the private life of the legendary art patron Dominique de Menil; Arts and Culture Director Diane ­Solway traveled to Turin to meet Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, who is celebrating her 25th anniversary as one of Europe’s most daring supporters of contemporary art; and Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Nicolas Ghesquière, invited his latest muse, Emma Stone, to collaborate on a fantastical shoot that is part ­Versailles, part Louisiana Bayou.

Rianne van Rompaey and Adwoa Aboah, on set near the Mojave Desert. Photograph by Sara Moonves.

I’ve been spending more time than usual in Italy, working on an exhibition on 30 years of Italian fashion, which opened in February at the Palazzo Reale, in Milan, and hopefully will travel to the States soon. During my visits, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much Milan has changed since I left it more than 20 years ago. A new generation of creative entrepreneurs is making waves in art, design, fashion, and food. As you can see in “Italian Renaissance,” a comprehensive portfolio shot by Guido Taroni, these young strivers are as talented as they are stylish. This new energy applies to heritage labels too—take the Etro scions, Jacopo, Kean, Ippolito, and Veronica, who are opening up the brand their father founded to new ideas, and reaching out to a younger and more international audience. “It was a counterculture moment when Papa started the company,” Kean told the writer Alexandra Marshall. “And now we do counterculture for today.” Indeed, technology and e-commerce are reshaping the fashion landscape, as Federico Marchetti proves. His company, Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, is currently valued at around $6.4 billion, after a ­buyout by the luxury group Richemont. The journalist Andrea Lee met Marchetti on multiple occasions to discover the man behind the corporate image, tracking his path from a provincial upbringing in the small city of Ravenna—near the birthplace of his hero, Federico Fellini—to the high-stakes world of corporate buyouts. Even now, Marchetti, who as a young man wanted to work in the world of cinema, sees what he does as entertainment—bringing joy and fantasy to fashion lovers. It’s a sentiment we understand well at W.

Stefano Tonchi and Gerwig at the New Museum Spring Gala, in New York, 2014. Photograph by Neil Rasmus/BFA/REX/Shutterstock.