There are moments in the life of a magazine when we need to challenge ourselves, push forward, and step into the future. This Special Collector’s September issue started from the idea of creating something we had never done before—starting with a cover that would literally come to life and speak to you. To make this happen, we asked the digital firm The Mill to envision what the magazine of the future might look like. In Angus Kneale’s guest contributor’s letter, you can read about how this collaboration between W, The Mill, pop icon Katy Perry, and photographer Steven Klein evolved; then download the W Beyond the Page app and enjoy the results.
As we were working on this print-and-digital package, our Creative and Fashion Director, Edward Enninful, was named editor in chief of British Vogue. After six years of incredible work, this September issue will be his last with us. I first met Edward not long after I became the editor of this magazine, at a dinner during Fashion Week in Paris. Of course, I was already familiar with his work, and was thrilled when he accepted my offer to join my team.
What I never imagined was that in addition to finding a valuable collaborator, I was also making a friend. It has been a real pleasure to work closely with Edward and to experience firsthand not just his talent but also his contagious enthusiasm and positive attitude.
There are so many memorable moments in our personal and professional partnership that it’s hard to select just a few examples. Who can forget his double cover of Kate Moss in black and white lace, or Rihanna as a futuristic warrior? Whether he was working with Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, or Jane Fonda, Edward always made a point of transforming celebrities and showing them in an unexpected light.
He also brought out the best and most personal work from the many photographers with whom he collaborated, and tackled with them important issues of race and gender. (His story in this issue with Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, “Defy,” is destined to become another one of my favorites.)
Edward’s departure leaves a huge void, but it also creates an opportunity for new experiments, the fruits of which you can already see in this issue. We partnered with both rising and established fashion talents from all over the world, including the stylist Lotta Volkova, who worked with the photographer Johnny Dufort on the aptly named “Roar.” Zoë Ghertner brought leather into softer focus in “Beguile,” and the artist Collier Schorr captured fashion’s obsession with gender fluidity (“Embrace”).
Meanwhile, our Contributing Fashion Editor, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, asked photographer Dylan Don and a group of her closest friends to help her celebrate Gio_Graphy, her upcoming book, which features some choice outtakes from Gio’s Journal, her regular W column (“Play”).
We also made a point of spotlighting the next generation of talent, like Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the two young designers giving the house of Oscar de la Renta a youthful yet sophisticated spin (“Remodel”); the Nigerian-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose vibrant paintings powerfully address cross-cultural experiences (“Transcend”); and the Italian director Luca Guadagnino, whose film adaptation of André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name, a gay love story set in the 1980s, feels extraordinarily of the moment (“Love”).
But my favorite story of all was orchestrated by the artist Alex Israel, who was obsessed with Eli, an actor chimp who appears in movies and commercials. (He may be the last of his kind; Eli will leave behind the Hollywood maelstrom in a few years, and there are no plans to replace him.) Israel introduced Eli to Bill and Maria Bell, two of the most important art patrons in the country, and, just like that, the couple’s Tadao Ando–designed home overlooking the Pacific Ocean became the setting for a futuristic tale in which a hominoid explorer is sent back to post-apocalyptic Earth in search of artistic treasures.
Cover to cover, I think you’ll agree that September is not short on surprises!
Watch: Katy Perry Confesses to Crying to Some of Her Own Songs
Plus: Watch Katy Perry's cover story come to life with W magazine's "Beyond the Page," our new—and free!—augmented reality app. Download it for here, for iPhone and Android. W Magazine: Beyond the Page was created in partnership with The Mill: Executive Producer, Sallyann Houghton; Creative Director, Pierce Gibson; Producer, Katya Pavlova