In 2007, the artist Richard Prince appropriated celebrity paparazzi photos, dedicated them to himself (“To Richard Prince, Let’s Not and Say We Did, Jennifer Aniston”), and turned them into covers for W’s Art Issue. I was obsessed with those covers and thought of them often over the years. They merged the worlds of art, fashion, and pop culture seamlessly, using simple stock images.
For this year’s Art Issue, we went back to Prince. Since the rise of social media, the artist has been exploring the idea of Instagram, and for this issue he created an iconic portrait of the most recognizable supermodel in the world, Kate Moss. We asked the photographer Nikolai von Bismarck (who is also Moss’s boyfriend) to take Polaroids of her, which we then sent to Prince, who made them into an Instagram painting, which is now on the cover of W (“#katemossbyrichardprince”). I love the idea that in 2007 Prince used a paparazzi picture for the cover, and in 2019 it is an Instagram image.
Prince currently has a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, featuring his new Instagram portraits; in “Motoring On,” the photographer Alec Soth brings to life the people leading that city’s creative renaissance. Meanwhile, in “A Muse for All Times,” the photographer Tim Walker celebrates the great model and muse Penelope Tree. On set, Tree spoke about Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, and David Bailey—the people who inspired her current shoot. Walker had the visionary idea of paying homage to the images of Tree created by these greats of the fashion world, and in Jenny Comita’s story we learn about Tree’s trepidation in comparing her current self to the teenager she was 50 years ago. I hope her fears turn into satisfaction once she sees the images, which Walker describes as “a big up to the beauty of age.”
W’s Design Director, Cian Browne, introduced me to the work of the German artist Tobias Zielony, who represented Germany in the Venice Biennale in 2015 and is known for his documentary photography of youth culture. For his first ever editorial fashion shoot, Zielony collaborated with the British stylist Alice Goddard; they came back with a portfolio that is as subversive as it is surprising (“Hiding in Plain Sight”).
One of the most exciting things about becoming an Editor in Chief is getting to celebrate brilliant friends doing amazing things. I met Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough 10 years ago, and since then I’ve seen them transform Proenza Schouler from a cool-kids brand to a household name. This month, Jack and Lazaro are launching Proenza Schouler White Label, a line of easy coats, perfect white jeans, and zebra-print dresses—clothes that every Proenza fan (myself included) will want for their everyday wardrobe. We sent their new collection to Tokyo to be shot by the artist Takashi Homma, and in the story by Christopher Bollen we learn that while Hernandez and McCollough always design with their New York friends in mind, their clothes transcend boundaries (“Fresh Start”).
Working on the Art Issue is something I look forward to all year. I hope the pages ahead surprise you, introduce you to people you may never have heard of before, and reintroduce you to great ideas of the past.