Dawn Skype sessions, a giant blue cake and buckets of iced tea – here’s what happened when Lena took the editor reins at Stylist.
“I’m power mad!” – these are three words you do not want to hear from your editor (perhaps only pipped at the misery post by “You’ve been fired” or “My name’s Piers”). But when it’s a celebrity who is knee-deep in guest editing a special issue for Stylist’s fifth birthday, you don’t really mind. Stylist first approached Lena about being our guest editor in February, yet due to her crazed schedule, it was late August before we booked our first meeting via Skype at 10pm on a Wednesday. We waited. We called. She didn’t pick up. Her PA apologised profusely and promised if we tried in two days Lena would be ready.
As three of us crowded around a computer on Friday afternoon, Lena appeared, sat in bed, hair ruffled, having just woken up in LA. She was so excited. She had read every copy of Stylist she could find and knew exactly what she wanted on every single page. An hour later we had the content planned – now to make it happen. What followed was a veritable ping-pong match of emails over various time zones – ideas sketched out, tweaked and changed. Lena mined her contacts book for women she admired and every time we asked her for help or direction, sure enough, the next morning we’d be welcomed by replies sent at 3am.
So even when Lena and photographer Autumn De Wilde adapted our cover concept 24 hours before the shoot, we weren’t concerned. Lena was in charge. The final design of the cake was created as an homage to Lena’s mother, photographer Laurie Simmons, who uses the image of legs as a running motif in her work. “Autumn and I thought that because Stylist is a women’s magazine, it’s great to pay homage to a woman who inspired you, which for me is my mother,” Lena explained.
On the shoot she arrived with a mammoth iced tea, worked for nine hours straight, and then rescheduled a flight to Toronto to fit in just a few more pages. A packed day in a West Hollywood photo studio was supposed to be work, but it didn’t feel like it. Over the following two weeks Lena wrote huge chunks of copy filing right up until less than an hour before the issue went to print.
An absolute professional and, despite her power-mad tendencies, a fine editor.
We’re sure you’ll agree.
Lena Dunham, photography and specials director, Tom Gormer, and features editor Lucy Foster.
The flat plan
Sweets on set
More sweets (plus cream) on set
Stylist's editor Lisa Smosarski and Lena Dunham working on the issue
Food on set
More food on set