It's fair to say the job of an editor on a glossy magazine from time to time involves contact with A-list celebrities. From my years as a fashion director to now, I've totted up a fairly impressive tally while shooting our cover stars over the years.
It's an interesting thing, meeting a very famous person, in that they are never quite what you expect. They can be nicer, smaller, taller, more or less beautiful, grumpier, funnier, the list goes on. But the one thing they often have in common is that they are invariably not quite as starstruck-inducing as you might imagine. In fact, in my experience, most 'famous' people are actually far more ordinary than you expect.
A few have been so extraordinary, I've ended up falling a little bit in love with them by the end of the work day. Only one, though, has ended in a full-blown, no-holds-barred infatuation of epic proportions. And that would be this month's cover star Rihanna.
As is the case with most celebrity crushes, I was not the only one enamoured by her. In fact, every single person in the studio that day was transfixed (as are Eminem, Pharrell Williams and Tyra Banks, who have all talked to her for this issue). It was impossible not to be.
That Rihanna is incredibly beautiful, and even more so in the flesh, was of course a factor. But as we all know, looks soon wear off if there is not much else going on beneath the surface. What Rihanna has in spades is a quality I can only describe as glamour.
When we think of glamour, a sense of dressed-up dazzle (heels, lipstick, dramatic clothing, the works) often comes to mind. And Rihanna has that down, as witnessed by any number of her viral looks from 2017 alone – the bejewelled Crop- Over costume, the sweeping Giambattista Valli gown at the Valerian premiere, and her Gucci crystal bodysuit at Coachella, to name a mere few.
But true glamour is more than that. It's a can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it allure, a heady mix of mystery and bravado, and, most importantly, a sense of genuinely not giving AF about what anyone else thinks. That is what made my colleagues and me fall in love that day. Oh, and the fact she's an absolute riot to be around, in the best way possible.
What Rihanna has in spades is a quality I can only describe as glamour.
And speaking of glamour, getting dressed up is very much the mood of the season; even the humble cardigan has had a glitzy makeover this autumn. Perhaps this is a reaction to the recent athleisure moment or simply because, in difficult times, we all crave a little fun and escapism. It's fine right now to look like you've made an effort. Take inspiration from the late, great Nora Ephron, who summed it up with her words, 'Believe me, if I looked good, it wasn't an accident.' Kenya Hunt shows you how in the issue.
Of course, hand-in-hand with dressing up is going out. After all, a night in with Netflix and a bottle of red isn't going to cut it when you're wearing those new sparkly Miu Miu shoes. Nellie Eden's paen to the Big Night on explores why the fashion crowd is going out out right now. It will make you want to go dancing immediately.
Take inspiration from the late, great Nora Ephron...'Believe me, if I looked good, it wasn't an accident.'
But glamour is not just about dressing up and after-dark fun. One of my go-tos when I need a quick hit of glamour (or have something slightly nerve-racking to do) is Top Nails salon near our office in Soho. It's not the fanciest of places, but it's chock full of women like me getting their fix at lunchtime. I always choose the same red. But it's not the colour that is the point, rather the confidence boost and mood lift it gives me every time.
And while I've never embraced a red lip, I might after reading Sophie Beresiner's brilliantly informative column on 'shade rules' and how the right colour can change your look.
Creating modern glamour and making women feel powerful is something Erdem Moralioglu has always been a master of. He made my wedding dress when he was a fledging name on the London Fashion Week calendar, but obviously a huge star in the making. After having watched his career progress, I'm so happy to see his singular vision reach its biggest audience yet with his new H&M collaboration. Having seen it up close, I advise you to get in the queue early. It's going to be a sell-out.
While you're in the shopping mood, our fashion well has all the inspiration you need: the best dresses of the season (I want them all), the most covetable shearling coats to cocoon yourself in, and excellent tailoring to raise your officewear game.
In short, I can't imagine you won't be ready for a little more glamour in your life, whatever form that takes, after reading this issue. And if in doubt, may I suggest channelling a little Rihanna AF attitude? It's the perfect accessory this season – try it and see.
The October issue is available on news stands now