In celebration of our 200th issue, we focus on six contributors who were involved in issue one and are still making Wallpaper* wonderful today. As a sign of my enormous gratitude, I’ve even donated my Editor’s Letter to them... Animation - and brand new typeface - by Philippe ApeloigAs originally featured in the November 2015 issue of Wallpaper* (W*200)
Michael Reynolds is our visually geared US editor/producer/ stylist, whose tenure dates back to Wallpaper’s beginning. Now, 20 years and three editors-in- chief later, he continues to spearhead some of our most provocative stories.
‘I credit the support of Tony Chambers and his team for the vision of the magazine,’ he says, adding, ‘Wallpaper* started of as a strong, very tailored and personal vision, which was a brilliant launching pad for the magazine at the time. It has become highly expansive over the years, especially under Tony. Nowadays, people know what Wallpaper* is as a brand, but at the same time they don’t, and I think that’s a very good thing.’
Writer, design critic and author
Alice Rawsthorn began her foray with Wallpaper* as a favour to a friend. ‘The early finances of Wallpaper* were so hairy that no one had any idea it would survive, let alone thrive,’ she remembers. Her memories of her first assignment, a travel feature about Los Angeles for the launch issue, capture the exciting spontaneity that propelled Wallpaper* forward in those early days. ‘Tyler [Brûlé, launch editor-in-chief] blagged the air tickets from Air New Zealand, I picked up a car from LAX, drove around the LA that interested me (modernist and deconstructionist architecture and Hollywood noir hellholes) and wrote about it.’
It takes a special breed to have the courage to get in at the ground floor. The prudent move, with any new venture, is to wait and see, to let the market decide and then and only then to join lockstep with the conventional wisdom. The advertisers that joined our journey on issue one are that special breed. Ralph Lauren, Versace, Valentino, Guess, Katharine Hamnett – thank you, Mr Nick Vinson – and Ian Schrager Hotels among many others joined the tireless and wonderful Patrick Cox in lending support to this strange new magazine. We like to think that these companies all shared an interest in the way the popular culture works and how it was changing and showed, dare we say it, the foresight world-class businesses need to show if they are to continue to prosper. We thank them all. We wouldn’t have made issue 20 without them.
Looking back, though, if we had to name one man we might perhaps have expected to be as open to new ideas back then as he is today, one man whose interests were even broader than our own, one man who we really wanted to like us as much as we loved him: that man would be Paul Smith. His ad was an illustration by an artist we went on to use ourselves. And that has been the pattern ever since. He has always been our inspiration, our ideal reader and our staunch supporter as he blazed his own highly individual trail through an increasingly homogenous fashion landscape. From issue one, from a real one-of, Sir Paul Smith, we salute you.
Our entertaining director Melina Keays has been creating culinary porn since long before food bloggers and slow-lifestyle magazines came on to the scene. A Wallpaper* fixture since issue one, Keays’ sumptuous food shoots have been crucial in cultivating the tantalising, envy-inducing aesthetic that the magazine is sought out for.
‘Without any blueprint, guidelines, preconceptions or constraints, we had complete artistic freedom to do anything, so we did,’ Keays says. ‘We produced stories from every kind of studio and location around the globe, be it a private jet to a park in Barcelona, a Swiss chalet to a Dutch barge – in varying conditions of comfort. I once made a picture- perfect Welsh Rarebit using only a plastic lighter.’
Beauty & lifestyle director
Currently our acting beauty & lifestyle director, Christopher Stocks has been in Wallpaper* world, even before its inception.
‘Tyler [Brûlé] was one of our writers at Sky magazine (a UK teenage pop title), where I was deputy editor way back when. I remember visiting him at St Mary’s Hospital after he got shot in Kabul (while covering a story for Sky), where he started planning Wallpaper*,’ he recalls. Stocks subsequently entered the Wallpaper* fold: from proof-reading the inaugural issue and writing travel features about underground nuclear bomb-proof naval bases of the Swedish coast. ‘Wallpaper* was fabulous and crazy right from the start. Everyone spent most of their time tearing their hair out, but we also always held the coolest parties and had great fun.’
Advertising manager, Italy
Paolo Cesana’s media agency Cesanamedia has ensured that Wallpaper* stayed afloat from day one. ‘Tyler and [co-founder] Paul de Zwart brought me the prototype of Wallpaper* in Milan during Salone del Mobile in 1996. They were desperately looking for financing and people like me to introduce the title to the Italian advertising market. I thought it was completely new and contemporary. I believed in Wallpaper* from the first day.’ Cesana adds, ‘Wallpaper* has evolved under its different editors-in-chief. Under Tony [Chambers], there is a great momentum. The fundamental strength is that is has remained the ultimate media destination for anyone looking for the best design intelligence in the broad sense – architecture, home furniture, fashion and beyond.’
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