>> Happy Love Day! Yes, Valentine's Day was a few days ago, but Katie Grand's new endeavor, Love, officially launched today, brand new website and all. 336 pages of glossy, almost half of which are ads, and the reviews seem to be positive; inside, creative directors Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding went with a post-war look (left), and if naked pictures of Beth Ditto weren't included, a quick glance might make you think you were flipping through a '50s college yearbook. In honor of the launch, Katie recently did an interview with a close friend that was published in PonyStep, detailing how she settled on the title Love, why she ended up leaving POP in the first place, and how she feels about it going on without her.
It wasn't Love at first.
Well I really liked [the name] ‘Fame’, with its Warhol and Bowie connotations. I also liked ‘Plastic’. It was that idea that the name didn’t necessarily mean one thing, that everyone would visualize something different. Anyway, we couldn’t use either. ‘Plastic’ we couldn’t use because of Plastique Magazine and Fame we couldn’t use because of an American magazine of the same name. It took about five months before we finally came to a decision. Another one we liked for a short while was Legend, and then when the lawyers said we could use it we changed our minds, it sounded wrong. There was also ‘X’ and ‘Sex’ (which rather surprisingly was available). We’d normally send the legal types five possible titles to clear at a time. It was quite a dreary and expensive procedure. ‘Starlet’ was another one we could have used, but when we got confirmation we felt deflated rather than elated so that had to go. Another big favourite was ‘Heroine’, but of course I was told absolutely no way!
Love "was a bit mushy" »
Love was one of the first names that we mentioned, but we thought it was a bit mushy. Then myself, Stuart and Lee were in the office and because we’d got so fed up with whole process I decided we should just try some covers and see what the graphics looked like. We got the Courtney Love cover up and were trying it with Sex, X and a few others when I wondered what it would look like if we moved Love up to the top — and actually, it looked really cool. It’s kind of like a ‘Face’ type banner in a way.
Katie left POP because the situation was "really miserable."
The decision was easy because Bauer had made it so difficult for us to do our job in the environment that we were working in. It was unlike the previous jobs I’d had — at Dazed [& Confused] we had a huge office, and when you have lots of space people can drop by and it’s pretty creative. It was really miserable. I know this sounds terribly Ab Fab, but during summer when we were in production on the autumn issue of POP, the temperature in the office got so hot we started looking at health and safety regulations! We found that we were supposed to have 11 square metres per person but only had 5.6 meters each. It got very petty. We literally moved operations to Cecconi’s for two days in the end and finished the magazine al fresco from there.
She has a love/hate relationship with the idea of POP continuing without her.
The biggest problem for me at the moment is that POP could employ someone that I think is completely venomous — which would leave a really nasty taste in my mouth. I’d like it to be good and I’d like it to have some credibility. Of course there are people that could take the position who I think are totally wrong. If someone were to take over the position that I consider a long-term enemy, I would be disappointed, but not as worried as I’d be if somebody really great took over.
Love is different than POP, but it still has a common denominator: Katie's tastes.
Well we’re easing off the retouching as I mentioned. I don’t want to say it’s more grown up because that’s makes you sound like such an awful old fogey! And because of the restrictions Condé Nast put on us when we were working on POP, they did stop a lot of photographers from working with us. It was an unspoken thing but they’ve actually owned up recently. The lack of restrictions now opens up all sorts of possibilities. In a funny way though the restrictions were good because I would never have got to work with Alice Hawkins as much as I did or Alistair McLellan. There are of course some elements that may look a tiny bit like POP because it’s my thing and I have quite specific tastes. And at times I was trying too hard to make it nothing like POP, but fortunately time constraints take over and you start to get the feeling that actually I just don’t care, I just want it to be really good.