Summer Pleasures By Sofia Coppola
By Dara Block
What a pleasant surprise it was to open up the May issue of W Magazine and to see that there was a special supplement guest edited by Sofia Coppola. After all, it's been almost ten years since Sofia Coppola was the guest editor for Vogue Paris, so naturally this was long overdue and I am so glad to see that Stefano Tonchi (the editor-in-chief of W Magazine) let her have full control within the pages of this inspiring magazine. It's obvious that if Sofia Coppola was not a filmmaker, she would most likely be an editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine as she totally has got the eye and vision. So with that stated, let's take a look inside this special issue.
Let's start with the cover, simply entitled Summer Pleasures. Naturally, Sofia Coppola chose Kirsten Dunst as the cover girl. I mean why not, Kirsten brought such style and charm to her roles as Lux Lisbon from The Virgin Suicides and of course as the teen queen in Marie Antoinette. I think Kirsten Dunst looks stunning in this portrait by Juergen Teller and I love the way her golden hair shines and of course those vibrant red lips. Kirsten Dunst will always have something young and fresh about her that resonates through the camera. Perhaps, the best part about this cover are the words written in the corner… it simply states, "What's wrong with a little refinement?" It's clear that Sofia is making a statement about today's fast paced and extravagant culture and how everyone likes to show off everything. She feels that people should take more time to enjoy beauty and the simple things in life…. much like how she does it with this issue.
As you open up the magazine there is a lovely editor's note written by Sofia Coppola entitled "A Dream Job." I would paraphrase the letter, but her own eloquent words are too good not to share....
I Remember Looking at W as a Kid and getting a glimpse into the lives of these glamorous, adult women. There were hostesses and socialites, toile and place cards, movie stars' wives with crimped hair in well-dressed Manhattan apartments, debs of the year, and exotic vacation homes. The stories in W let you dream about the kind of life that women stabbed well-coiffed backs to achieve. Here are some of my favorite things in that mood, and in the spirit of indulging in beauty and style.
Growing up loving photography and fashion, I always wanted to be a magazine editor. I styled my first fashion shoot at age 10: My friends and I wore white linen blazers and French braids and held cognac glasses as we stood next to a globe. Now, thanks to Stefano Tonchi and Lynn Hirschberg, I got to do my own issue of W! My take on the magazine is an homage to the world it represented when I was young, and to the idea of glamorous living — not to promote something, but just for the sake of it.
And with all that fast, flashy, culture today, how about a little refinement? Here's to beauty and living well, and taking the time to enjoy it.
It's really quite special to read about Sofia Coppola's love of fashion magazines growing up and how it inspired her with this issue. She definitely understands what style and beauty is all about, which makes her the perfect choice for guest editor.
Much like in her 2005 Vogue Paris guest editor issue, Sofia Coppola shares some of her summer must haves and how she loves packing for vacation. She obviously loves the idea of a simpler existence and I love the items photographed such as her pajamas by Sleepy Jones, Adidas sneakers, and a Chanel bikini for a tropical getaway. Sofia also shares a quick make-up lesson with her friend and make-up artist Dick Page. He did her make-up for the Marc Jacobs Daisy commercial from last summer, and it's clear that he knows that Sofia Coppola likes a natural and effortless look. I also like how he does a glamorous look for her, as well. It's nice to know that Sofia Coppola can be both minimal and dramatic, too!
Sofia Coppola also gets some of her friends to share some of their favorite things. For instance, fashion designer Anna Sui lets the readers know of her favorite books. Also, musicians such as Debbie Harry, Sebastian Tellier, and Bryan Ferry share some of their favorite songs for a summer evening. It's great to see what songs inspire these talented musicians. Sofia Coppola even gets legendary interior designer Jacques Grange to put together some of his favorite summer spots. His choices are so magnificent and I especially love the image of Il San Pietro Di Positano, looks like a scene from Fellini's La Dolce Vita.
Sofia Coppola then goes on to share how much she loves stationary and I think this montage she assembled together is quite darling. She mentions Benneton Graveur, the legendary Paris stationer, who is known for making beautiful and elaborate cards. Sofia Coppola even shares how she ordered her first daughter's birth announcement on his cards. She also mentions other stationers like Olivier de Sercey and how Louis Vuitton has started a custom stationery service. It's really quite lovely to see how passionate she is for the little feminine things in life, like stationery... very cute!
The first layout in the supplement is entitled "Kirsten Forever," which features actress, Kirsten Dunst, in a vintage California chic inspired editorial photographed by Juergen Teller. The photos are so girlie and I love the 70s vibe… it almost feels like an editorial inspired by the look and style of The Virgin Suicides. There is also a great Q & A between Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst. We get to know more about their working relationship and their admiration for each other as artists and friends. It seems like Kirsten Dunst will always be Sofia Coppola's favorite California blonde… these photos definitely depict that!
Following "Kirsten Forever " comes "Studio Visits," in which Sofia takes a close look at some of her favorite creative people and what their personal spaces look like. I love this editorial, just because I have always found people's workspaces very inspiring and intriguing. We get a glimpse inside the interiors of people like New York artist Elizabeth Peyton, fashion designer Miuccia Prada, and director Gus Van Sant, to name just a few. It's really exciting oo see the space in which these artists inhabit for their creative processes.
Perhaps, one of the most visually stunning editorials has to be "Local Rose," which features a beautiful editorial and Q & A with model and actress, Marisa Berenson in her home in Marrakesh. I love that she is a woman of a certain age and she still looks so glamorous. My favorite part of the interview is when Sofia Coppola states...
There is a great Slim Aarons photo of Marisa Berenson at the beach wearing a purple turban and black kohl eye liner. I always thought it was from a fashion shoot, but when I asked her about it, she told me, "Oh, no, I was just at the beach after being in India, where I learned to wrap a turban." And I thought, Of Course! She just wrapped up her hair in a purple turban for lunch on the Amalfi Coast. I love that women like her exist!
I think it was that quote that made me more in awe of Marisa Berenson and why Sofia Coppola admires her. She definitely knows glamour and also how to live life to the fullest.
Next comes "Candid Camera," in which Sofia Coppola shares the Polaroids of Robert Rich. In case you are unfamiliar, Robert Rich was the manager of the Marc Jacobs store on Mercer Street in New York City and in the late 90s and early 2000s he took thousands of Polaroids of models and celebrities like Kate Moss, Selma Blair, and Sofia Coppola in his basement office. I love how "in the moment" these Polaroids are and it's quite refreshing to see the what instant photos used to be like, before Facebook and Instagram.
After "Candid Camera," comes "More is More," which was photographed by Roe Etheridge and features model Hilary Rhoda looking summer chic in the home of Cornelia Guest, who happens to be the daughter of the legendary hostess C. Z. Guest. I love how decadent her home is and all of the alluring swimwear Hilary Rhoda is wearing. She definitely embodies the socialite and I also love the 70s ambiance that this layout evokes. It's like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver mixed in with a woman who knows what serious luxury is all about!
One of the most elegant editorials from the issue has to be "It's All Fine," which features exquisite photos of table settings. Sofia Coppola eloquently states that "My favorite thing about making dinner (or breakfast or lunch) is setting the table." I couldn't agree more with what she has stated and I think these magnificent pics by photographer Andrew Durham remind me very much of scenes from Sofia Coppola's 2006 film Marie Antoinette… I think it has to do with all those rich colors and delicate details.
Sofia Coppola's guest editor issue ends on an inspiring note with an editorial of Asia Chow photographed by Paul Jasmin, who happened to be Sofia's teacher in college, who encouraged her to know that her vision and point of view was of importance in this world. I think it's very endearing that Sofia Coppola incorporated one of her mentors in this issue. It shows that she really hasn't forgotten where she has come from and how she hasn't changed much since her early days. Also, it's nice to see what an impact her teachers have made in her life, creatively. I think Paul Jasmin has a unique way of capturing women and I love the images he took of Asia Chow. She certainly conveys a lot of feminine glamour mixed in with a melancholy innocence. It's lovely and poignant to see Sofia's favorite teacher featured in this issue.
Overall, I think this may be one of the best early surprises of the summer, to see Sofia Coppola as guest editor for W Magazine. She not only knows how to direct films, but she can easily run a magazine with such style and character. Hopefully, Stefano Tonchi will feature her again as guest editor, as she clearly knows what interesting style is all about, in both the fashion and design world. I think Summer Pleasures is a good summation of what reading this issue was all about, such a joy to go through this one… and if you haven't seen this actual issue, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy… not only is this a summer pleasure, but a treasure, as well!
Editorial images © 2014 Condé Nast. All Rights Reserved.