Music has always been an important part of my life. Ever since my first concert – when I went to see Adam and the Ants aged 15, wearing a velvet 18th-century-style men’s jacket ‘borrowed’ from my school’s costume department, accessorised with white face paint and plaited hair in homage to the band’s style – it has carried me through life’s milestones.
From singing along to Wham! in my bedroom as a teenager, to Prince’s Parade album consoling me after my first proper heartbreak at college, as well as countless live gigs, including David Bowie in the mid Eighties and Patti Smith some time in the Nineties (unforgettable), my most vivid memories have a soundtrack.
I deliriously sang Crazy by Patsy Cline when giving birth to my daughter. Marrying my now-husband a decade ago, we played My Funny Valentine by Chet Baker. Then there was the rendition of Sia’s Titanium by a 1O-year-old girl with the most hauntingly beautiful voice at my son’s final primary-school concert six years ago, which never fails to move me when I think about it.
And if I ever need cheering up,a burst of Rihanna does it every time. In short, music is an integral part of my life – and no doubt yours, too.
It also feels like a pivotal time in the industry, with so many women leading the way, all of which contributed to our decision to dedicate our April issue to music. Taylor Swift is a perfect example of how female artists are flexing their power in new ways.
Not only is she one of the most successful performers of all time, but she is navigating stardom on her terms. She has led the industry’s #MeToo movement, winning her case against radio DJ David Mueller for groping her in 2O13. Then,at the end of last year, she signed a deal with Republic Records that allows her more control over how her music is used.
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She also found her political voice, endorsing two Democratic candidates in the midterms. This is an independent woman who stands up for her principles–the perfect ELLE cover star, in other words. Shooting her in London was a joy, and on page 134, she writes a deeply personal essay about the power of music to connect us and to transport us to different times and places.
Speaking of brilliant women in music, we have our own radio superstar – Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo – as a contributing editor. As a bonafide expert, she was always going to play a part in this issue. On page 13O she writes about her love of Nineties music videos. And we couldn’t put together a music issue without looking at the phenomenon that is Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next .Like the best music,it captured a moment.
On page 118, Liv Siddall argues that this isn’t just because of the amazing video, but because the sentiment perfectly sums up her generation’s approach to life.Millennials will move through more jobs, homes and life stages than any previous generation. I particularly like Liv’s refreshing argument that (far from the clichés of flaky millennials) this, in fact, gives her and her peers the edge. Of course, it wouldn’t be ELLE without a lot of fabulous fashion.
On page 182, Laura Craik examines camp and its role in music and fashion.It’s having a major moment right now, with an exhibition at NewYork’s Metropolitan Museum opening in May and stars from Harry Styles to Janelle Monáe embracing it. But if you’re more of a Scandi-cool fan than a gold-and-glitter type, fear not.
After learning that Ganni had become one of Neta-Porter’s top-selling brands, and noticing that everyone in the ELLE office was wearing it,we wanted to get the story behind the label.
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So we dispatched Lauren Cochrane to Copenhagen, where she spoke to the husband-and-wife duo behind it, Ditto and Nicolaj Reffstrup (page 72). We also shot some of the #gannigirls (including Susie Lau and Phoebe Collings-James) and asked them about their favourite pieces.
Meanwhile, our main fashion well–that’s the middle of the book,where you get all the shoots–offers up a smorgasbord of style inspiration, from coloured tailoring to the new ways to wear utility. My personal favourite is Felicity Kay’s Love Me Do story on page 158,shot with Daria Kobayashi Ritch.I love its off beat,rebellious spirit.
So there you have it:music,fashion,smart writing and so much more.In other words,yet another packed issue, which I hope will inspire, entertain and – to steal a phrase from Marie Kondo– ‘spark joy.’ Happy reading !
This article appears in the April 2019 edition of ELLE UK. Subscribe here to make sure you never miss an issue.
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