VOLUME 5

Stefano Tonchi on the Women Who Made the All-Women Issue of W Magazine

Guest edited by the one and only Cate Blanchett.


Photograph by David X Prutting/BFA.com/REX/Shutterstock.

The logo of this magazine stands for “Women.” W launched in 1972 as a supplement to the industry newspaper Women’s Wear Daily, chronicling the lives of fascinating women in the world of style. They have always been the protagonists of this magazine; nonetheless, with the benefit of hindsight, we have to admit that sometimes our subjects were also objectified. The undeniable reality is that, for many years, women modeled clothes mostly designed by men, in order to be photographed by men. Things have gradually progressed since those early days, and in the past decade specifically, W has been at the forefront of championing diversity and inclusivity. Still, not enough has changed in the media industry and in the world at large. There is still a long way to go to achieve real equality.

This issue—edited, styled, photographed, and written exclusively by women—was not conceived as a political statement or an act of rebellion. We thought of it as a learning experience, imagining we were staging a play in which all the roles were played by women. In the process, we realized that years of discrimination and questionable decisions cannot be waved away as if by magic: Fashion photography, like art and cinema, has been male-dominated for decades. But we were thrilled to confirm that nowadays there is a great wealth of female talent in all of these fields. It needs to be not just acknowledged but given a bigger platform on a continuous basis.

As a starting point, we invited Cate Blanchett to be our guest editor. Blanchett is one of the most successful and intriguing actresses in the world, and has a rich personal life to match; we knew that she would be a real partner in this special project. She opened up her busy schedule to work on a portfolio full of surprises over several months, collaborating with our style director, Sara Moonves, and nine different female photographers on shoots using only clothes designed by female designers. (Three of them shot arresting videos, too: Go to video.wmagazine.com to see them all.) The final result is a visual diary that shows the many roles that women can inhabit.

From the very beginning, Blanchett also had ideas to propose, like how women are influencing the worlds of design and architecture (there are profiles of Es Devlin and Frida Escobedo). She also sat down with Miuccia Prada to discuss with Penny Martin, the editor in chief of the U.K. magazine The Gentlewoman, how she and Prada have become ­inspirational figures for an entire generation—and to give props to the women who, in turn, inspire them.

Cate in a Martine Rose trenchcoat.

Photograph by Jackie Nickerson; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Digital Technician: Jonathan Rose; Photography Assistants: Teddy Park, Richard Kovacs; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele.

Another important story, photographed by the artist Sharon Lockhart and written by our features and culture director, Diane Solway, documents the rise of seven female gallerists who changed the art world in New York, setting a template for future generations. And the writer ­Lauren Collins interviewed Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri to examine how Chiuri has managed to transform one of the most feminine labels in history into one of the most feminist.

Blanchett genuinely loves fashion and is in control of all her styling decisions, whether it’s in her personal life or for important events like the Cannes Film ­Festival, where she served as president of the jury this year. Taking her lead, we asked three talented stylists to create highly personal and inventive shoots with young female photographers. Katie Grand worked with Charlotte Wales to transform the supermodel Adriana Lima into a fabulous Real Housewife; Marie-Amélie Sauvé, together with Stef Mitchell, upended dowdy town-and-country stereotypes; and Lotta Volkova enlisted Collier Schorr to show how conceptual clothes can create a big impact without trying too hard.

In this collectible issue, every image and every word on every page is the result of a female-driven collaboration—down to the typeface you see on our big stories, which was designed especially for us by the artist Caitlin Keogh. We approached this endeavor as a tribute to women, but it eventually became proof of how editors, writers, stylists, and photographers who firmly believe in the power of a magazine to inspire and tell stories can move the cultural conversation forward.

Cate Blanchett, Interpreted: 9 Female Artists and Photographers Expose the Actress’s Power as a Muse in a Special Issue of W Magazine

Photograph by Rineke Dijkstra. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Photography Assistants: Jodie Herbage, Richard Kovacs; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele.

Cate Blanchett wears a Victoria Beckham coat.

Cate Blanchett in a Martine Rose trenchcoat.

Photograph by Jackie Nickerson; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Digital Technician: Jonathan Rose; Photography Assistants: Teddy Park, Richard Kovacs; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele.

Cate Blanchett on the cover of W magazine.

Photograph by Shirin Neshat; Styled by Sara Moonves. Sitting editor: Sam Walker. Hair by Robert Vetica at the Magnet Agency; Makeup by Jeanine Lobell for Giorgio Armani at Streeters; Manicure by Yuko Tsuchihashi for Giorgio Armani at Susan Price NYC. Set design by Adrian Crabbs at the Magnet Agency. Produced by Blayke Kogan at Rosco Production; Production Coordinator: May Lin Le Goff; Director’s Assistant: Giulia Theodoli; Director of Photography: Ghasem Ebrahimian; Production Assistants: Benjamin Merker, Emma Modek; 1st A/C: RoDin Hamidi; 2nd A/C: Olga Vazquez; Video Assistants: Tony Sur, JR James, Jesse Gouveia; Fashion Assistant: Emma Metz; Set Design Assistant: Evan Schaffer; Tailor: Joshua Schwartz at In-House-Atelier.

“People are complex, never one thing. I photograph them over a period of time, to see how they change. So my idea was to portray Cate just as she was when she came into the studio, with no makeup and in her own clothes. Then we dressed her up as if she was going to a major event. It’s interesting to wonder: Who is the real Cate? “

From Left: Cate Blanchett wears a Vince tank; the Row pants; her own necklace and ring. Vera Wang gown; De Beers earrings.

Photograph by Rineke Dijkstra; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up; Manicure by Adam Slee for Rimmel London at Streeters. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Photography Assistants: Hans De Hartog Jager, Teddy Park; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique de Raffaele, Angus McEvoy; Tailor: Della George.

“I wrote a script about a scientist who creates robots in his lover’s likeness. Their plan is to help society, but it all goes wrong. The scientist decides to destroy the robots, but they kill him and her instead and take off. I’ve been reading a lot about what’s going on in the world of artificial intelligence—the title Uncanny Valley refers to the unsettling feeling elicited by humanoid objects—and it’s not such a crazy scenario.”

Clockwise from top left: Chloé top, pants, pendant necklace, and boots; Bulgari necklace. Sergio Rossi boots. Stella McCartney coat. Victoria Beckham coat. Hermès shirtdress; Sergio Rossi boots.

Photograph by Alex Prager; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up; Manicure by Adam Slee for Rimmel London at Streeters; Production Design by Arthur De Borman at Vision At Wizzo. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Director’s Assistant: Lisa Ziven; Production Design Assistants: Nicholas Hancock, Daniel Edwards; DOP: Sam Goldie at Independent Talent; Prosthetic SFX: John Nolan; Smoke SFX: Matter SFX; Prosthetic Artist: Sunita Parmar; VFX: Jeremy Dawson; VFX Assistant: May Ziade; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele, Izzy Temp; Tailor: Della George; Special thanks to Beth Riesgraf and Zarene Dallas.

Chloé top, pants, pendant necklace, and boots.

Photograph by Alex Prager; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up; Manicure by Adam Slee for Rimmel London at Streeters; Production Design by Arthur De Borman at Vision At Wizzo. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Director’s Assistant: Lisa Ziven; Production Design Assistants: Nicholas Hancock, Daniel Edwards; DOP: Sam Goldie at Independent Talent; Prosthetic SFX: John Nolan; Smoke SFX: Matter SFX; Prosthetic Artist: Sunita Parmar; VFX: Jeremy Dawson; VFX Assistant: May Ziade; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele, Izzy Temp; Tailor: Della George; Special thanks to Beth Riesgraf and Zarene Dallas.

“For a long time my work has focused on women and the ways in which they defy society’s repressive codes. I was interested in how female singers are universally treated as objects of desire. At first, Cate looks gorgeous, but when she sings it’s a male’s voice. The audience heckles her, and she becomes confrontational. When the music comes back on, she does a seductive dance but her face is evil. For her final act of subversion, she takes off her hair and makeup and walks away. That part was Cate’s idea. Fuck the beauty.”

Photograph by Shirin Neshat; Sittings editor: Sam Walker. Hair by Robert Vetica at the Magnet Agency; Makeup by Jeanine Lobell for Giorgio Armani at Streeters; Manicure by Yuko Tsuchihashi for Giorgio Armani at Susan Price NYC. Set design by Adrian Crabbs at the Magnet Agency. Produced by Blayke Kogan at Rosco Production; Production Coordinator: May Lin Le Goff; Director’s Assistant: Giulia Theodoli; Director of Photography: Ghasem Ebrahimian; Production Assistants: Benjamin Merker, Emma Modek; 1st A/C: RoDin Hamidi; 2nd A/C: Olga Vazquez; Video Assistants: Tony Sur, JR James, Jesse Gouveia; Fashion Assistant: Emma Metz; Set Design Assistant: Evan Schaffer; Tailor: Joshua Schwartz at In-House-Atelier.

“I hadn’t met Cate before the shoot, but she reminded me of women like Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion, and Peggy Guggenheim, all of whom were relaxed and self-confident with their body language. We shot in Cate’s own beautiful garden in the English countryside, and she was game to try every crazy idea we came up with.”

From left: Sonia Rykiel coat; Vince T-shirt. Hi-Tec sneakers; Blanchett’s own jeans.

Photograph by Jackie Nickerson; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Digital Technician: Jonathan Rose; Photography Assistants: Teddy Park, Richard Kovacs; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele.

“My starting points for this shoot were cinematic, as they always are: Fellini’s women and Coppola’s One From the Heart. I came up with a narrative: It’s 5 a.m. and she’s atop a muscle car, then she’s furiously typing, connecting all her ideas. I was trying to create a wild spirit.”

Versace dress; David Webb gold, platinum, and diamond earrings.

Photograph by Sam Taylor-Johnson; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Robert Vetica at the Magnet Agency; Makeup by Lisa Storey for Charlotte Tilbury at the Wall Group; manicure by Michelle Saunders for Essie at Forward Artists. Set design by Colin Donahue at Owl and the Elephant. Produced by Dana Brockman at Viewfinders; Production Coordinator: Carolyn Bruch; Production Assistant: Spencer Tortorici; Digital Technician: DV8 Digital; Retouching by Epilogue; Photography Assistants: Jeff Gros, Henry Han, Huey Tran; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Nadia Beeman; Set Design Assistant: Mike Wanenmacher; Tailor: Isa Kriegeskotte.

Cate wearing Attico dress; Ellen Christine Couture headpiece.

Photograph by Sam Taylor-Johnson; Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Robert Vetica at the Magnet Agency; Makeup by Lisa Storey for Charlotte Tilbury at the Wall Group; manicure by Michelle Saunders for Essie at Forward Artists. Set design by Colin Donahue at Owl and the Elephant. Produced by Dana Brockman at Viewfinders; Production Coordinator: Carolyn Bruch; Production Assistant: Spencer Tortorici; Digital Technician: DV8 Digital; Retouching by Epilogue; Photography Assistants: Jeff Gros, Henry Han, Huey Tran; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Nadia Beeman; Set Design Assistant: Mike Wanenmacher; Tailor: Isa Kriegeskotte.

“I started out wanting to do something quite surreal with collage, but in the end I painted on the images, which is something I did in my work years ago. I like the coolness and modernity of it.”

Cate Blanchett wears a Marine Serre dress and catsuit. Nicholas Kirkwood x Marine Serre boots; Repossi bracelet and ring. Givenchy dress.

Photograph by Viviane Sassen. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Cyndia Harvey at Streeters; makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up; Manicure by Morena Sanguigni for Morgan Taylor Lacquer at BTS Talent. Set design by Alice Kirkpatrick at Streeters. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Retouching by Jan Hibma; Photography Assistants: Hanneke Van Leeuwen, Teddy Park; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaelle, Angus McEvoy; Set Design Assistant: Mariska Lowri; Tailor: Della George.

“I’m interested in portraying my subjects in a spirited way. Thankfully, Cate is always game to explore, to play. It was she who suggested that for the first part of this shoot we run around the block for 10 minutes. There was no location van, no producer, no hair and makeup—it was so special. We reconvened at sunrise the next morning in Times Square, and shot some more. She’s interested in taking risks, as am I.”

From left: Givenchy coat and belt; Chopard earrings and ring. Alberta Ferretti blouse, pants, and belt; Vhernier earrings Proenza Schouler shoes.

Photograph by Cass Bird. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Robert Vetica at The Magnet Agency; Manicure by Jin Soon Choi for JINsoon at The Home Agency. (Image on Left) Produced by Tyler Strawhecker at PRODn for Art + Commerce; Production Coordinator: Therese Mulgrew; Production Assistant: Christiana Mecca. Digital Technician: Anthony Miller; Retouching by Gloss Studios; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Michelle Pelletier; Lighting Director: Jon Heller; Photography Assistants: Clay Howard Smith, Zane Schaffer, Connor Martin, Ben Boult; Tailor: Leah Huntsinger at Christy Rilling.

“I come from a fine-arts background and work a lot with moving image. For this shoot, we had a studio set up in Cate’s backyard. Her daughter was chasing a dog and cat around, and I was filming her watching her, using a VHS camcorder from the ‘80s. I wanted to do something that was more real than glamorous. She caught glimpses of herself dressed in this masculine way, and she adopted a character. The fact that she trusted me with my little camera and rolled with this makes her the best person ever.”

Cate Blanchett wears a Martine Rose jacket, top, and jeans; Miu Miu boots.

Photograph by Sharna Osborne. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Laura Holmes Production; Photography Assistants: Jodie Herbage, Richard Kovacs; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angelique De Raffaele.

“I like pictures where the psychology is hard to understand. You don’t know who the person is, or what they’re thinking. I wanted a woman passing by, like an apparition. You catch a glimpse of her and she’s like a ray of light, too good to be true. In the film, the man spends all of his time chasing her down.”

From left: Simone Rocha dress. The Vampire’s Wife dress; Jimmy Choo shoes.

Photograph by Dominique Issermann. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Sam McKnight for Sam McKnight Products at Premier Hair and Make-up; Makeup by Mary Greenwell for Giorgio Armani at Premier Hair and Make-up. Produced by Anna Zantiotis; Production Manager: Helen Salen; Retouching by David Martin at DMDB; Photography Assistants: Ollivier Hersart, Vincent Gussemburger, Jordan Lee; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Angus McEvoy; Special Thanks to the Corinthia Hotel.

Cate Blanchett wears a Vanessa Seward shirt and jeans; hat from Early Halloween, New York; Chopard earrings; Alberta Ferretti belt.

Photograph by Cass Bird. Styled by Sara Moonves. Hair by Robert Vetica at The Magnet Agency; Makeup by Dick Page at Statement Artists; Manicure by Jin Soon Choi for JINsoon at The Home Agency. Produced by Tyler Strawhecker at PRODn for Art + Commerce; Production Coordinator: Therese Mulgrew; Production Assistant: Christiana Mecca; Digital Technician: Anthony Miller; Retouching by Gloss Studios; Fashion Assistants: Allia Alliata, Michelle Pelletier; Lighting Director: Jon Heller; Photography Assistants: Clay Howard Smith, Zane Schaffer, Connor Martin, Ben Boult; Tailor: Leah Huntsinger at Christy Rilling.
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