Sexy Behind the Scenes Shots from the 2015 Pirelli Calendar

Just a few more months to go before the 2015 Pirelli calendar is finally bestowed upon us. The 2015 cal is lensed by Steven Meisel and styled by the queen of porno-chic, Carine Roitfeld. Mark your 2014 Pirelli calendars for November…

In the mean time, check out these sizzling behind the scenes photos from the Pirelli shoot. We bow down to you, Adriana, Raquel,  and Isabeli!

Click the below images to see photos full screen

Images from the backstage of 2015 Pirelli Calendar by Steven Meisel, images by Marc Regas

Visual Xanax: Collecting Smiles

May your Monday be cheery.

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Images: Drew Barrymore photographed for Arena UK, July 1994; Police eyewear campaign image; Karen Elson photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue Italia, March 1997; Christy Turlington and Kate Moss backstage in the ’90s; Linda Evangelista photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, June 1990; Claudia Schiffer for Chanel, 1992; Kate Moss for Calvin Klein, 1992

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The Week in Fleetwood Mac Covers: Karen Elson Does “Gold Dust Woman”

As you can probably tell, we kind of really love Fleetwood Mac around here. And clearly, so do a lot of other people—enough to fill a tribute album and then some. From this Sharon Van Etten/Shearwater cover of "Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around" (technically not Fleetwood but Stevie Nicks is still involved and the cover is excellent) to Best Coast’s take on "Storms" (not to mention an entire original album that drew some inspiration from Stevie Nicks and the band) to this stacked tribute album, Just Tell Me That You Want Me, it seems everyone wants to try their hand at a Fleetwood Mac song.

We’ve already heard quite a few tracks from the tribute album, due August 14th, including the New Pornographers’ energetic "Think About Me" and Best Coast (again!) reworking "Rhiannon" into a more upbeat number without the strange-brew quality of the original. Next up is Karen Elson, Citizens Band member, songwriter, model and former Mrs. Jack White, who offers a pretty consistent and very pleasant cover of "Gold Dust Woman." It’s closer to the original than, say, Best Coast’s "Rhiannon," although Elson adds a bit of freak-out distortion at the end. Have a listen. 

Karen Elson’s Nine West Vintage America Collection Is Here

Hot off the heels of her awkwardly adorable Lanvin dance session with Raquel Zimmerman, British multi-hyphenate Karen Elson has just released her latest project: a vintage-inspired capsule collection with footwear retailer Nine West. Not only does the line of shoes, handbags, and jewelry reflect a genuine nostalgia, but the range feels very much like something we’d find in the model-actress-singer’s closet, like the Moonlight granny boot pictured here.

To celebrate the launch, Nine West has created a dedicated portal on their website that features a music section (complete with a video and plug for Elson’s new album, “The Ghost Who Walks”), behind-the-scenes footage, and an events section that reveals Elson’s next gig location (Beauty & Essex on September 13 from 8-11pm). Limited edition meet-and-greet and show tickets will be available on GiltCity.com beginning September 6. If you can’t make it to the show, Nine West will be streaming the event live on their Facebook page.

Shop the limited-edition collection here.

Tom Ford’s Spring 2011 Video Is the Coolest Fashion Party You Didn’t Go To

In an unusual twist on typical by-appointment fashion presentations, Tom Ford’s Spring 2011 line of womenswear is being unveiled via a three-minute video featuring a who’s-who of fashion and film and set to “Beautiful Babies” by Karen Elson, who’s also seen in the clip. Draped over such bold-face modeling names as Amber Valetta, Karlie Kloss, Carolyn Murphy, Coco Rocha, and Daria Werbowy, the clothes seem to play second fiddle to all the super-recognizable faces.

Also present and strutting the catwalk are Lauren Hutton, Beyonce, Julianne Moore, Lou Doillon, and Daphne Guinness, each preceded and trailed by a bobbing-and-weaving Terry Richardson, who photographed the show for an upcoming exclusive feature in French Vogue . The clothes are stunning evening wear looks, with plenty of structured suits and plunging necklines, all scheduled to hit stores in late January or early February.

Tom Ford on the Women Behind His Womenswear

Tom Ford is everywhere these days! After editing the holiday issue of French Vogue, sharing some snaps of his super-secret runway show with Harper’s Bazaar, and outfitting models in his new line in American Vogue, Ford decided to chat with W Magazine about the lovely ladies who first wore his womenswear looks last fall and who inspired his designs. This embroidered silk dress with fringe was designed for Karen Elson: “Karen is such an exotic beauty, I always love dressing her in a color that plays off her skin tone and hair color,” Ford tells W. “The cobalt blue of the dress seemed exactly right.”

image And the black jumpsuit, modeled here by beauty Lara Stone, he designed with Lou Doillon in mind. “Lou is young and has an amazing body,” says Ford. “She was the perfect person to wear a catsuit—le smoking.”

Images courtesy of W.

Karen Elson, ‘The Ghost’ Who Rocks

Not that you would ever have occasion to look it up, but there are no direct flights from Manchester to Nashville, which might explain why it took model Karen Elson nearly a decade to trek from her birthplace to Music City, where she now lives with her rock-star husband, Jack White, and their two children. But the journey—the grit of her hometown and the country flavor of her adopted one—all make themselves felt on her raspy, lo-fi debut album, next month’s The Ghost Who Walks. “In fashion,” Elson says from inside midtown Manhattan’s Ace Hotel, “I can’t ever truly be myself. What music brought out in me is gigantic. The first time I played Jack one of my songs, I just cried.”

In casual conversation, Elson lights up when talking about Nick Cave, ’80s pop group This Mortal Coil and the surrealism of 1930s Paris, an endearing surprise coming from the onetime face of Yves Saint Laurent, Prada and Chanel. Similarly, The Ghost Who Walks plunges right into the heady stuff, opening with the sinister title track (it’s also the nickname given to her by bullies when she was a child), a graphic murder ballad strongly reminiscent of Cave’s “Where the Wild Roses Grow.” Then there is “Last Laugh,” a love letter to her two children—framed within the context of the apocalypse. From the haunting “The Birds They Circle” to the down-and-out desperation of “Mouths to Feed,” Elson takes listeners through a litany of sorrows, cruelties and savage injustices. Of all this despair, she shakes her head and says, “We’re all such fools, human beings.”

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Elson is well aware of the stigma associated with her professional detour and fully expects that indie nerds may receive her album with disdain. (Though perhaps they aren’t aware of her other outfit, The Citizens Band, a subversive theater troupe that took on Wall Street profligacy last October with the musical The Debt Rattle.) That White, the founder of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, whom Elson met in 2005 on the set of the music video for the Stripes’ “Blue Orchid,” produced her album won’t do much to endear her to this crowd. But—nepotism be damned—it does give the record a convincing, hardscrabble sound.

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Also adding to the record’s authenticity is Nashville—a city that, like Manchester, she reckons “can never be fully explained except through music”—where she has lived for the past five years. “If I had written these songs in New York, they probably would have been much more cynical,” she says. “In New York, people are motivated by success and money. It’s not about being good at what you do. It’s about being good at hustling. Instead, this is a very honest record.”

Top Image: Robe by Agent Provocateur, Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. Second Image: Dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo.Third Image: T-shirt by Alternative Apparel, Jeans by Levi’s. Sittings Editor: Christopher Campbell, Hair: Cali Devaney, Makeup: Jami Harris, Photography By Mark Squires Location: Third Man Records, Nashville, TN.

KAREN LIKES: Cafe Gitane.

Supermodel Karen Elson & Amy Patterson, Vintage Chic Freaks

On a cold, rainy afternoon in Nashville, Tennessee, supermodel Karen Elson, sequestered in the upstairs quarters of a pink-walled boutique, happily shows off a few favorite pieces. She pulls a long white tulle overdress from a rack laden with velvet bias-cut slip dresses from the 1930s.

“This is the dress I would wear if Jack [White, lead singer of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, and Elson’s husband of almost four years] and I ever renew our vows,” says Elson, who opened her boutique, Venus and Mars: The Showroom, last October with partner Amy Patterson, a Nashville wardrobe stylist. Holding the garment up to her long, elegant body (clothed today in wide-legged jeans, orange suede Biba platforms and a peach satin camisole worn under a pink-and-green tulle overblouse), she swishes the skirt around her ankles, then finds another frock: a sheer, floor-length black lace number in immaculate condition. “I got this at the Paris flea market,” she says. “I was running late, the proprietor was about to close and I begged him to let me shop. This is what I found!”

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V&M is a fashion lover’s paradise. It covers two floors of a small house packed with carefully curated men’s and women’s pieces dating from the late 1800s to the early 1980s—many of them picked up by Elson on international modeling gigs. 

Elson didn’t move to Nashville with the intention of opening a vintage boutique. But three-and-a-half years after moving to the middle of Tennessee with White, the redheaded mother of two is spending her scant free time at her new store, playing matchmaker between customers and the vintage finery that she adores. 

More than a few shoppers drop by to see what happens when a supermodel decides to open a store in a conservative town where the term “high fashion” translates as a rhinestone-covered Western suit. (Mind you, Elson has nothing against the folks who wear those suits. When White performs with the Raconteurs, as he did last September at the Ryman Auditorium downtown, he often sports ornate custom-made suits by local couturier to Nashville’s country stars—and Nudie protégé—Manuel.)

“I’m not judging people,” Elson says of the fashion climate in her new hometown. “I moved from New York to get away from all that. I really feel like style is whatever you want to be; it doesn’t have to be so black and white.” 

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Between Elson and Patterson, they’ve got the style gamut covered. Patterson, small, pretty and blonde, is dressed a bit more low-key today, wearing pale jeans, a floral wrap top and dark blue 1940s pumps with pale pink fishnet stockings. Elson’s and Patterson’s styles complement each other, as do their personalities. Elson is chatty and decidedly girlie, while Patterson is more reserved and business-like, having spent eight years running her own local vintage store—the original Venus and Mars (the name comes from an old Wings album) in the city’s funky Berry Hill neighborhood. 

Though Patterson has been a thrifter since her childhood growing up in Detroit (she visited Nashville on her way to Florida via a Greyhound bus 15 years and decided to stay), Manchester-born Elson’s vintage education came courtesy of some chic teachers. 

“There were always designers like Marc Jacobs and Anna [Sui] telling me where to shop,” she says. “Anna—God bless her—would always be grabbing things for me at flea markets. ‘I found this dress that would look great on you.’ I’ve got to give her credit: she really got me into it.” 

The two partners met while Elson was shopping at the old V&M, not long after she moved to town. “I remember I came in and went, Oh, thank God!” Elson recalls. “I was feeling really desperate for vintage clothing and I just didn’t know my way around town.” 

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Nashville is one of those proverbial “big small towns” (the population of Music City is only about 650,000). Both women have connections inside music circles; they’d bump into each other while seeing a band at downtown’s Mercy Lounge or having dinner at Margo, a bistro in East Nashville. Early last year, Patterson announced that she was about to close her old shop. When Elson heard the news, she was disappointed that her favorite vintage haunt was going away. Then she got an idea.

“She sent me the longest text message I’ve ever gotten,” says Patterson. “‘It’s Karen Elson. I’m at the park with the kids… would you call me? I want to talk to you… ’” 

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Initially, the pair discussed having an appointment-only salon that would rent outfits for special occasions, catering to the town’s stylists who outfit musicians for videos and photo shoots. Ultimately, they decided to go with a more democratic business model, one where customers could find a great 1960s mini dress for $30 on the downstairs racks, or drop a few hundred dollars on a special-occasion splurge, like a 1940s Christian Dior dress.

The fate of their business plan was sealed when they saw their current space, a 1906 stone–and–clapboard cottage on Belmont Boulevard. It’s directly across the street from Belmont University, and in close proximity to the South district, which is home to several other vintage boutiques including Local Honey and Savant. Elson and Patterson did the decorating themselves—including painting each room, floor to ceiling, a different color. (In keeping with the store’s rock star associations, the main room is painted a Benjamin Moore hue called Purple Rain.) Though it’s far from an intimidating place, there is a definite rock-star vibe to the “new” Venus and Mars.

The downstairs men’s room, painted bright green, is brimming with stellar finds like star-printed ’70s silk shirts and fitted velvet jackets that would easily work into the stage wardrobes of local bands like Kings of Leon or (yes) the Raconteurs. The women’s area, also downstairs, holds both simple cotton day dresses and showgirl-worthy finds like a lavender marabou Lillie Rubin chubby.

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Upstairs, in the dusty pink confines of the private salon, are the kinds of show-stopping antique lace and beaded gowns that Nashville’s cabal of country music stylists have long dreamed of having at their disposal for their clients’ red carpet appearances.

At first, the work was slow going. “We definitely had a good couple of months when we were just scratching our heads,” Elson recalls. “We’d come in for four or five hours a day and just move piles all over the floor, from one spot to another.”

“We’d do that at least five times,” Patterson adds, “and then we’d be like, Okay! You wanna go to lunch?” 

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Elson names the fabulously stuffed-to-the-gills women’s boutique Geminola, in Manhattan’s West Village, as a direct inspiration for the look of V&M. “I think it’s just so gorgeous in there,” she says. “I’d ultimately like to get into doing the kind of customizing and dyeing that they do. But first things first: we’ve just got to get this up and running.” 

They claim the store remains a work in progress, but to an outsider it appears to be perfectly put together. There’s a bit of kitsch to the décor, with vintage paint-by-numbers paintings hanging in second-hand frames, and retro lamps with wonderful homemade shades bearing the names of legendary style icons like Coco Chanel and Marlene Dietrich. Victorian love seats and chairs are covered in a velvety, dark rose fabric. 

Elson’s penchant for the flapper era is realized with papier-mâché mannequins with wide eyes and pursed red lips wearing dramatic ostrich feather headpieces. The lighting is moody and dark, courtesy of several small chandeliers hanging from the ceiling in each room. 

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“It’s a bit like an early 19th-century French bordello,” she says. But the women know they have to be mindful of not going overboard on feminine decor. “I think if I just made it exactly how I wanted, people would walk in and be like, ‘Huh?’” she says. “We’re trying to do this in a way that works well for Nashville. There are a lot of different things going on in this town. There are the Belle Meade ladies, who are almost like those Long Island ladies in New York, with their blow-dried hair and whatnot—very high maintenance, but they’ve got style. It’s definitely not mine, but I get it: it’s like the kind of stuff I wear in American Vogue. 

“But then there’s this other style, this scene of real punky little girls and women who are into burlesque.” (The burlesque movement in Nashville is strong, and has produced two popular troupes: Music City Burlesque and Panty Raid.) 

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Elson has a soft spot for this saucy subculture—one of her other jobs is Creative Director of the cabaret troupe known as the Citizens Band, an international group of liberal-minded entertainers with whom she also sings and dances. 

“I’d love to do a Citizens Band double bill with some of the burlesque girls here,” she says, but demurs when asked about whether she’d perform with the local troupes. “I have my cabaret moves down”—she says, making jazz hands—“but for burlesque, you need a bit more of a figure, and I just look too lanky, with my nonexistent boobs.” 

Her burlesque role model, she says, is Dita Von Teese, in both performance style as well as the work Von Teese puts into her period-perfect public persona. “In my dreams, I wake up and do exactly what she does,” says Elson. “But I’ve got two kids and that brings time limits to putting on makeup.”

KAREN’S FAVORITE BISTRO: Margo, Nashville.

Photography by Amy Dickerson.
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Designers Board Advertising Bandwagon

Blame it on the economic downturn and the increasing push from high-fashion designers to appeal to a wider demographic: big name brands from Rodarte and Zac Posen to Derek Lam are getting into the fashion advertising game for the first time this season. According to Women’s Wear Daily, Derek Lam shot his first ad campaign in San Francisco last week — the fruits of which feature model Karmen Pedaru in Fall 09 Lam, shot by seasoned fashion photographer Solve Sundsbo. But Lam is by no means the first designer getting his feet wet with advertising this year.

As Fashionista points out, “this month we’ve seen Rodarte’s proper campaign debut in V and Zac Posen’s first ever ad, for Spring 09, shot by Ellen Von Unwerth for Spanish Indie mag Fanzine 137.” Out of the premiere fashion ads, I’d have to credit Rodarte’s as the most innovative. The Pasadena-born and based brand collaborated with music and art photographer Autumn de Wilde (who is responsible for snapping iconic album covers for the likes of Beck, Elliot Smith, and the White Stripes among others). And the ads, which feature model and Jack White wifey Karen Elson, no doubt benefit from de Wilde’s ethereal, evocative aesthetic sensibilities. Blood-spatter has never looked so chic.