So, you think we’re obsessed with LOVE?
But only because we’ve been obsessed with POP since we went to London sophomore year of college and spent too much money on mind-blowing magazines.
Since then, we love all things Katie Grand. And while we can’t wait for LOVE‘s debut, it’s with great sadness that we mull over her final, Drew Barrymore-covered issue of POP.
Her last letter from the editor, in which she talks beginnings, highlights and ends, after the jump.
Twenty issues and eight years later, this is my last outing at the top of POP. Gosh.
First, a confession. There’s been too much fluoro, too many animals, too many pictures of the staff, too much pink and slightly too many Muppets. Charlotte Tilbury would probably add that there have been far too many plane journeys involved, too. I’d also add that there have been too many tears, but discounting one blubbing Christina Ricci episode at 1am on her cover shoot, we’ve had too many jolly times to start sobbing. Whether I’m still saying that at the other end of this letter is a different matter entirely.
POP has been put together on a budget of love. That is how and why it has worked. Because the most amazing photographers, stylists and writers who have become part of the POP family over the years have been fans first of the stuff that they’ve engaged with on our behalf – sometimes in the most fanatical sense – every single image we have created for POP and every word we have written for it have come from the right place. Question the decisions made, if you like. I do with every magazine I look at (there is still nothing better, really, than a good magazine argument between friends). But don’t question the intention. Behind the gloss and sparkle, POP has always come from the heart.
Because we’re fans, we have been able to celebrate the phenomenon of Lindsay Lohan and the genius of Miuccia Prada, page beside page. Abi Titmuss, Grace Jones, Beth Ditto, Billie Piper, Yoko Ono, Giles Deacon and Girls Aloud might not look like they make any sense together but the rule of thumb guiding POP from the start has always been that if someone or something is an office obsession, if we can’t stop talking about it, then it is probably the case that lots of other people can’t stop talking about it either. So I won’t say sorry for giving Big Brother nutcase Nikki Graeme the opening feature when she was enjoying her one nanosecond in the spotlight. These were the things that other fashion magazines didn’t do and we did. Because we wanted to. Nobody had to fit a mould to be venerated as an icon of their moment; they just had to be one.
The moment for me that POP started making its own unique sense was when I was sitting beside Stella McCartney in a cafe next to Luella‘s studio on Talbot Road. Stella called Madonna and asked her if she wanted to do the magazine. She said yes. I still have to pinch myself that this phone call actually happened. Quite besides the fact that our official photographers-in-residence Mert and Marcus hid in the toilets for half an hour because they were so scared of meeting her, it set a new precedent for us. I can never thank Stella enough for it.
Some other highpoints. Shooting and re-shooting Liz Hurley two weeks after giving birth having lost an astonishing one-and-a-half stone and waving her hands dismissively as if it would ever be a problem getting into a bathing suit at that moment; seeing Victoria Beckham stumped for words when we put her in front of the camera in a sweatshirt and jeans, five minutes into arriving on set; the most beautifully insane 24 hours in Ibiza with Courtney Love; finding out that the miniature countercultural author JT LeRoy, who Steven Klein had shot over 20 pages for us, was actually a figment of somebody’s imagination; deciding not to do Kate Moss until the moment was exactly right, then watching and beaming as the issues arrived with her all sunnily iconic in angel wings and boxer’s helmet after a summer scandal in which the tabloids had decided they wanted to destroy her; then sitting back whilst she became the biggest-selling POP cover star ever (obviously).
The cast list of people who have helped make my time at POP the most breathlessly fabulous magazine ride a girl could enjoy is too numerous to thank. In an Academy Awards attempt to keep it brief, my right-hand art directing henchmen Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding can take a bow, for defining our aesthetic from day one to my last curtain call. Murray Healy has kept the copy desk on fire over the years with splendid ease, mostly in pristine, high-end sportswear. And nobody could ask for a better production editor than the brilliant Matt Fiveash. Our resident cover photographers Mert and Marcus have to get another nod. The incredible amount of talent, time, energy, money, enthusiasm and vision they’ve lent to the magazine makes them inseparable from it.
So the 20th issue. It’s all about animals as you will see. Drew Barrymore gets her second cover because she deserves it. She’s the perfect POP girl to bow out on, one of my favourite celebrities I’ve ever met. Her first pet was a pressie from Steven Spielberg called Gertie, too, which surely counts for something. As ever with my POP covers I checked in on photographer Alasdair McLellan and writer Paul Flynn on their super day in Connecticut with her, knowing how charmed they would be by her. Suffice to say the word, “AMAZING!” was swapped back and forth several times in those conversations.
If you study the credits in POP with expert detail – and if you don’t, why not? – you will note that the marvellous photographer Alice Hawkins has taken a good deal of the animal-related snaps in my final issue. Now I’ll start blubbing. We gave Alice her first commission when she was fresh out of college, so let me have a little maternal flutter as I recommend her first major exhibition at The Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art in Sunderland.
Yes, there is more flouro, more pink, more animals, more plane rides, more Muppets and more pictures of the staff. Because, you see, that confession wasn’t really a confession at all.
This is the suff I love. At heart, I’m a fan, too.