V LEGENDS: Pop Stars

V LEGENDS: Pop Stars

FOR THE 100TH ISSUE, V PAYS HOMAGE TO THE CREATIVE MINDS OF OUR MANY LOYAL CONTRIBUTORS. YOU CAN CALL THEM LEGENDS. TODAY WE TURN OUR FOCUS TO THE MUSICAL MASTERMINDS WHO HAVE LENT THEIR GENIUSES TO THE PAGES OF V

FOR THE 100TH ISSUE, V PAYS HOMAGE TO THE CREATIVE MINDS OF OUR MANY LOYAL CONTRIBUTORS. YOU CAN CALL THEM LEGENDS. TODAY WE TURN OUR FOCUS TO THE MUSICAL MASTERMINDS WHO HAVE LENT THEIR GENIUSES TO THE PAGES OF V

From Kylie Minogue (the first musician to appear on the cover of the magazine) to Rihanna, a bevy of legends from the pop music canon have lent their mythologies to the ongoing narrative of V.

The tales behind the production of these stories alone have earned the distinction of being legendary in their own right—one of the most notable examples of being that of Prince. “Time here is slowed down, because we don’t take information from the outside world,” he said in his interview with Vanessa Grigoriadis for V84. “We don’t know what day it is and we don’t care. There is no clock.”

This insight into the enigmatic world of one of the greatest musicians of our time should also speak volumes to the efforts that went into this shoot, which was essentially not confirmed until it happened. How does one orchestrate a shoot with someone who has his own conception of time? Good faith, it turns out. “V gave Inez, Vinnodh, and I the dream opportunity to go to Vegas to photograph Prince and his band members,” stylist Melanie Ward recalls. They set up a seamless backstage before his two-set show and photographed him just before he went onstage. The interview happened at two in the morning, conducted entirely without tape recorder or note pad (as is mandatory)—and while the list of subjects for whom anyone would abide these circumstances is short, for V, Prince was always at the top of it.

This is, of course, is only one instance: there were also Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé, all of whom appeared on multiple covers at seminal moments in their careers. Stephen Gan was at JFK waiting to board a flight to Milan Fashion Week in early 2014 when he received a call from entertainment editor Greg Krelenstein, that began with a singularly intriguing line: “I have a crazy idea.” The idea—equal parts teenage dream and blind ambition—was to photograph Madonna and Katy Perry together for the cover of V89, the Summer 2014 issue. This proposition struck even Gan as highly improbably: “I’ll believe it when the pictures come in.” This mantra quickly became an inside joke at 11 Mercer Street—until the day the proofs arrived.

This is not the first example of large-than-life personalities pair up, either; V82 saw the Mario Testino-lensed loveliest between fashion icon Kate Moss and music megastar Rihanna. After witnessing the dynamic duo flirting at a Stella McCartney presentation in London in 2012, Testino positioned the pair for an ensemble story for V, to which they excitedly agreed. “Kate overheard us talking and she said, ‘I want to do it with you,’” recalled Rihanna in her V82 cover story with V editor-at-large Derek Blasberg. After news broke that Rihanna and Ms. Moss had posed together, it quickly became an online sensation for both the fashion- and music-obsessed. The story has since remained a standout at the V archive as a symbol of what the magazine has become: a publication that pushes the marriage between music and fashion, celebrating their intertwined arcs from day one.

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