Problems with customs, stolen clothes or bad selling magazine covers. Lucinda Chambers, fashion director of British Vogue, and hairstylist Sam McKnight (who collaborated on more than eighty Vogue covers) tell us what went on behind some of Vogue UK‘s covers.
The cover shoot with Emma Watson in 2010
The shoot with Emma Watson took place in Paris. Lucinda Chambers: “When we arrived in Paris, it turned out that the Eurostar train manager had stolen all of the clothes we had packed for the shoot. When we told Emma, all she could say was ‘but I’ve waited ten years for this!”. I said: ‘I have a pair of sunglasses in my bag and I told the assistant to take off his hat, so that’s already two shoots. And it’s Mario [Testino, the photographer], so it’ll be fine’. Thankfully a dress emerged that we could use for the cover. Thank God for that Valentino dress. We also took some photos with my sunglasses and an assistant’s sweater and it all turned out ok. I think he [the train manager] sold all the haute couture and kept the Topshop stuff. ”
The cover shoot with Cheryl Cole in October 2010
Lucinda Chambers: “This was terrible. She said she was not feeling well, had a headache and felt quite sweaty. I said ‘go and lie down for ten minutes’ because she was indeed perspiring a lot. I’m not a very difficult person, but you have a very large responsibility to the magazine. You have to have those pictures. On the one hand you want to make them feel at ease, but they must do it [the shoot, red]. That night I read in a newspaper on the plane that Cheryl Cole was in the hospital with malaria. So it was not a simple headache… Patrick [Demarchelier] was the photographer and he is French and he didn’t know who she was en kept calling her ‘Cherie’. We did the shoot in twenty minutes.”
The cover shoot with Natalia Vodianova in 2008
The shoot with Natalia took place in Russia. Chambers: “A disaster! The traffic was crazy. Natalia didn’t actually have time to do the shoot because she was organizing a three-day ball, but we needed sixteen pictures. We had about two seconds with her. We had this picture taken on our way to the airport. I told her to lie against a pillow and I draped the dress around her. We had no time to put the dress on. It was one of our best selling covers. ”
The cover shoot in Egypt (with model Tatjana Patitz in 1992)
Sam McKnight: “We had booked a cruise on the Nile in order to photograph all the iconic places in Egypt. But our clothes were seized by customs and they asked an absurd amount of money to give them back. The fashion director had to stay behind to negotiate while we were all waiting on the boat until the clothes would finally be returned. We waited almost a week. The day prior to leaving we finally got our clothes back. Patrick [Demarchelier, the photographer] took most of the photos on the way back to the airport.”
The Kate Moss/Aladdin Sane cover in 2003
Ten years prior to the immensly popular David Bowie exhibition in London, British Vogue styled Kate Moss (a safety cover girl according to editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman) as David Bowies iconic Aladdin Slave sleeve. Shulman admitted that the cover was a “complete catastrophe” sales wise.
The fold-out cover with 17 British models in 2002
This British Vogue cover from January 2002, with seventeen British models and a baby, was one of the worst selling covers. Chambers’ explanation on why: “Perhaps because of the lack of cover lines?”
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