LOVE is renowned for its striking covers and eclectic mix of stars- Cher, Lily Rose Depp, Kendall Jenner, Miley Cyrus and Hari Nef are just a clutch of the characters who have graced the front of the magazine, which is spearheaded by super-stylist Katie Grand.
For the latest 17.5 special issue, Grand has enlisted Alasdair McLellan to select and photograph the girls at the top of their barometer of relevance right now. The resulting title? Quite simply, 'Alasdair's Girls'.
Among the stellar young cast is 15 year-old Rowan Blanchard, who is fast gaining a reputation for being as much an activist as an actress; Adwoa Aboah, the preternaturally beautiful model who has walked for Dior, Erdem and Versus Versace and is creating positives from her own mental health struggles with her forum Gurls Talk which encourages women to share their experiences openly; and Slick Woods, the rebel girl model who has been working with Kanye West, Rihanna and Marc Jacobs.
Really excited that one of my favorite people, Salma @salmahayek, interviewed me for my @thelovemagazine cover ���� Salma (and my precious little Valentina) have been extended family for the past few years and I am so grateful for them �� I admire Salma as an actor, as an activist, as a woman but really above all as a person who genuinely cares about the world and I have learned so much from her ���� it was an honor to be able to be in conversation with her and to talk about acting/activism/waking up in the middle of the night to write in my diary �� available on newsstands may 10th �������� thank you @salmahayek I love you ❤️❤️❤️ photo by wizards @alasdairmclellan & @kegrand ��������������
A post shared by Rowan Blanchard (@rowanblanchard) on May 8, 2017 at 10:15am PDT
"We just picked girls we liked," shrugs McLellan, explaining the instinctive, zeitgeist-led approach to casting the issue. "They feel so relevant to now. I hate the word 'buzz' but these girls have really got that about them."
When they were deciding how to portray these strong, agenda-setting personalities in LOVE's pages, McLellan and Grand struck upon the idea of a pared-back aesthetic. "What was especially nice about this project was that it was in a studio, it was simple," remarks McLellan in his editor's letter.
The idea was based on a book which McLellan had worked on with skateboarding brand Palace, for which he took raw portraits of the Palace Wayward Boys Choir, the skateboarding collective based at the world famous skate spot on the Southbank. "I really liked that idea of a gang, a mixture of characters aged 16 to 40," he recalls of the project and how it created the inspiration for LOVE.
In the resulting shots, vibrant up-and-coming model Winnie Harlow, who has turned her vitiligo from a condition for which she was bullied to a proud statement of individual beauty, is styled in a bold red Proenza Schouler dress and bucket hat by Stephen Jones for Marc Jacobs and captured mid joyful dance move by McLellan. Slick Woods and Adwoa Aboah take the cover in a a sensitive, tender embrace- both dripping in pieces from Tiffany & co's new Tiffany City Hardwear collection which is celebrated throughout the issue.
In a candidly characterful moment, Edie Campbell and Lily Nova sport rollered hair and plasticised coats from Raf Simons' debut Calvin Klein collection.
Inside, the evocative shots appear alongside interviews and exchanges between the 'Alasdair's Girls' cast.
While the issue might seem like the latest celebration of diversity in the fashion and cultural spheres, McLellan insists that that part comes naturally. "I know people are talking about diversity," he says. "But in the UK, we've been doing it in magazines like Blitz and i-D for 30 or 40 years. When I work with people, I just see their characters."
LOVE issue 17.5 ‘Alasdair’s Girls’ is out now and will be available from: Dover Street Market London, Dover Street Market New York, Dover Street Market Daikanyama T-Site (Tokyo), Bookmarc (London and New York), Colette (Paris), 10 Corso Como (Milan) and Condé Nast Worldwide News (London).