Posts Tagged ‘kate moss’

Joan Collins, Madonna and Kate Moss on magazine covers

December 22, 2014
Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail's Weekend supplement - 30 August 2014

Joan Collins talks about married life as a slave in the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement this year

When it comes to longevity as a magazine cover star, the prize has to go to the actress Joan Collins. I’ve identified her as far back as 1951 at the age of 18 on the cover of Tit-Bits and there can’t have been a year since when she hasn’t graced a magazine, from Picture Post, to Span, to Film Review, Woman, Playboy and OK! That’s 63 years a cover star.

But although she may not be showing her age – the Weekend supplement cover here is from August this year – Collins is getting on (she’s 81!), so who can rival her in future? Two names spring out –  Madonna and Kate Moss (far too early to consider Lady Gaga). So what are their chances of rivalling Joan Collins?

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Madonna on the cover of Smash Hits back in February 1984

Joan Collins had a massive boost to her career with the role of Alexis in Dynasty and such reworkings are vital to a long career. Madonna is back in the news at the moment over the ‘artistic rape’ she says she suffered because someone stole demo tapes from her new album. There’s no doubt the US-born singer and actress is a brilliant self-publicist. She has been recognised as the best-selling female record artist on record. Now 56, Madonna’s first Vogue cover was February 1989. Before that, she was a Smash Hits cover in 1984, when she was coming up to the age of 26. That’s 30 years as a cover star and, assuming she is still popular when she’s 81, another 25 years to go, total: 55 years of cover stardom.

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss in Corinne Day photograph on cover of the Face magazine in July 1990

Kate Moss turned 40 this year and marked it with a Playboy cover. Her modelling fortune was made by her appearance – as a scrawny 16-year-old – on a 1990 cover of style bible The Face shot by Corinne Day. Moss was the face of the Third Summer of Love (the others being 1967 and then the rave summer of 1988).

Starting at such an early age clearly gives Kate Moss an advantage. She has 24 years behind her and, assuming the 81 limit again, 41 years to go. Total: 65. That early start at 16 gives her a potential two-year edge on Joan Collins and a full decade on Madonna. Her first cover was on the Face, a relatively niche title, whereas Tit-Bits in 1951, the launch platform for Joan Collins, was probably selling a million copies a week. In contrast, Moss has been on a Vogue cover – frequently twice a year – just about every year since 1997, whereas Collins has never been on a Vogue cover.

On a personal level, Collins is on her fifth marriage – including Anthony Newley, one of the most gifted actors, singers and songwriters of his generation (Goldfinger title song, a dozen top 40 hits, roles in Dr Dolittle and Eastenders) – and has three children.

Madonna has been married twice – to Dead Man Walking actor Sean Penn and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie – and has four children. Moss has been married just once and has a child from her relationship with Dazed magazine co-founder Jefferson Hack.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether Kate Moss, or Madonna, has the staying power and the ability to appeal to such a wide range of people as Joan Collins.

WATCH OUT for my book on British Magazine Design, a highly illustrated large format hardback from the V&A

Family life at Dazed & Confused

November 3, 2011
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Kate Moss? No, it’s Aimee Mullins, on a cover that changed the way Jefferson Hack thought about Dazed & Confused, the magazine he founded with Rankin

There was a pivotal moment this morning as Dazed & Confused founder Jefferson Hack and Emma Reeves were showing me round the Somerset House exhibition of the book Dazed & Confused: Making it Up as we Go Along celebrating 20 years of the magazine. Reeves was reeling off the names of celebrity portaits by Rankin (the magazine’s other founder – they met at the London College of Printing): ‘Michael Stipe … Beth Ditto…’. Then Hack breaks in ‘… and Kate’.

He meant Kate Moss, of course, his former partner and mother of their daughter. Moss is the face on the exhibition’s publicity and the cover of the Rizzoli book. The tour changed then. It was no longer just about a great magazine with images and ideas from  many of the greatest illustrators, stylists and photographers of the past two decades (though the names drop thick and fast, Bjork, Taylor-Wood, Coldplay, Hirst, the Chapmans, throughout the exhibition). Instead, it was about family. And philosophy and technology.

Both Reeves and Hack talked of the magazine’s staff and contributors as family. And there are two rooms celebrating a lost member of that family: Alexander McQueen. The fashion designer and couturier hanged himself in February 2010 a week after his mother died.

I asked Hack what was the best-selling issue. He responded not with numbers, but the fact that the Fashion-Able cover (September 1998) is the most requested back issue. This led us into room 5 of the exhibition where Nick Knight’s fashion portraits of men and women without legs, or arms, are projected on three large screens – the shoot was the idea of McQueen with styling by Katy England. It is a great cover – a model, who on first glance could be Kate Moss, with prosthetic legs. Arresting.Of course, it’s actually Aimee Mullins.

‘That was the point were the magazine grew up,’ said Hack, taking us into the room. ‘With that issue we were on page two or three of the world’s newspapers. We realised that you didn’t have to be the best-selling magazine to have an influence on culture. That has been our philosophy ever since.’

The issue continues to reverberate, with a 2015 post by Dazed, seeming to check up on how the world feels about fashion and disability.

Getting editors to talk about philosophy can be difficult; for many it is too ethereal, even sounding pretentious. But the best magazines have one. The Economist has a page on its philosophy: ‘We are international, we stress the links between politics and business, we are irreverent and we are independent,’ says John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief. Mike Soutar had a ‘mantra’ in 1997 at FHM – ‘funny, sexy, useful’. US satirical monthly Spy was ‘smart, funny, fearless’.

Many magazines have a family feel. Take Sir Luke Fildes, who was illustrating The Mystery of Edwin Drood when Dickens died half way through the monthly serial being written:

‘… at the request of the family, who wished me to fulfil the desire of the great writer, they asked me after the funeral to come and stay with them, and it was then, while in the house of mourning, I conceived the idea of ‘The Empty Chair,’ and at once got my colours from London, and, with their permission, made the water-colour drawing a very faithful record of his library; and stayed with them until they left the house prior to the sale.’

Woman’s weeklies have long talked about a family of staff and contributors, so Woman’s Own in the 1950s would discuss the lives of its writers and artists – showing a photograph of cover artist Aubrey Rix with his new baby for example, and discussing the roles and lives of young members of staff. And the promotion of the royal family in this era was a boon to magazine sales.

As for technology, Hack described a software installation by Nick Knight as ‘an app ten years ago’. Run your finger across the image to reveal layers of other images underneath. The software was developed for manipulating images – as in Knight’s cover for the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition for the V&A catalogue. And Reeves identified a watershed – eight years ago – for the switch to digital imaging at Dazed. Going back beyond then was ‘a nightmare’, she said. After that, the illustrators and photographers had digital archives of their work. Before then, ‘I’d end up at their mum’s house with a box in the garage.’

The free exhibition 20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine opens at Somerset House in London tomorrow. You can buy the Rizzoli book – a hefty 300-plus pages for £35 with more pictures than you can shake a stick at – at the exhibition or from the Dazed website.

Eat and drink nearby: American Bar at the Savoy; Gordon’s Wine Bar by Embankment Tube; and The India Club on the Strand.