For the third interview in our series, we’re joined by one of the most creative forces in fashion: editor, stylist, creative director, and founder and publisher of Perfect Magazine, Katie Grand.
Whilst still a student at Central Saint Martins, Grand was part of the original team that published Dazed & Confused in the early 90’s, with Rankin and Jefferson Hack. From there, she went on to become Fashion Director at The Face, and later launched iconic fashion titles POP and LOVE magazine. She’s collaborated with some of the industry’s most respected names - from Tim Walker to David Sims; Juergen Teller to Stephen Jones - and worked on style-defining shows for fashion brands including Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, and Bottega Veneta. In 2020, Grand independently set up ‘The Perfect Magazine’, a magazine and content agency.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LIGHTBULB MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?
If ever you're in a situation when you feel something, or you react to something, emotionally - be it good or bad - that's a lightbulb moment. Every time you challenge yourself, that is a lightbulb moment. It’s interesting to work with young photographers that don't really know what they're doing, because you're watching them for the first time, having their lightbulb moment. So if I was on set with Madonna and Mert and Marcus, that's not a lightbulb moment, that's just something we've done before and are doing again. Whereas when you bring new people into that equation and they are doing it for the first time, that's incredibly exciting. So everyday is a lightbulb moment.
WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION?
I do think the things just sitting next to you can be the most inspiring. It's just whether you're switched on at that particular moment or whether you need it.
You know, I was doing a shoot at the weekend, and I didn't really like any of the clothes that were there. And I was really anxious about it. And then I looked at the props guy - Andrew Clarkson - and he had some yoga mats. He literally saved the day: we ended up making dresses out of yoga mats with gaffer tape. It was out of necessity, because the clothes weren't right. But what ended up happening was something much, much more interesting. You can't really design those moments.
WHAT'S YOUR WEIRDEST OBSESSION?
I've got some issues with some things. They're all negative obsessions, actually [laughs]. I cannot abide a radiator in a photograph. Like, I just can't. Hair clips - I've got a real problem with backstage photography with hair clips in the hair. That's a no. Oh and I can't bear creased backdrops. Like, if you've bothered to bring that fabric on set, why don't you just steam it, you know?
But none of that is positive.
I'm quite obsessive about casting. I think 90% of a photograph is if you respond to the person in the picture. And I think I probably learned that from Rankin, or that was certainly entrenched from that time.
WHAT'S THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU LIVE BY?
Just get on and do it.
AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THE KEY IS TO UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE?
Could someone tell me, please? I don't understand anything [laughs].
Join us next month as we sit down with Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, to discuss nurturing creativity, the future of British fashion, and the lightbulb moment that shaped her career.
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