To honour the launch of her new book Tears and Tearsheets, super-stylist Katie Grand speaks to Jack Sunnucks about the book’s inception, and bringing together a fabulous array of stars to celebrate it
On Wednesday evening at London’s J.Sheekey, Jefferson Hack and Rankin hosted a party for mega-stylist and editor Katie Grand’s first book, Tears and Tearsheets. Befitting the eclectic and fabulous guests, who included Kristen McMenamy, Honey Dijon, Bryanboy, Pixie Geldof and Bimini, Moët supplied refreshing champagne, while Belvedere ended the party with espresso martinis. Grand was Dazed’s first fashion director, going on to found the magazines Pop, Love and Perfect, pages from which make up the book, published by IDEA.
Like all her ventures, it started with the name. “I thought of the name Tears and Tearsheets, and it was a bit like doing a magazine – once it had a name it became real,” Grand explains. Over the next six weeks, she and her producer Phoebe Arnold quite literally tore through all of her archives. “Once the title was there, I’d quite liked the idea that I’ve edited magazines and been involved in the graphics, titles and standfirsts of stories, and the names of magazines, so a book of actual tearsheets from Dazed and AnOther and The Face and Pop and Love, all these magazines with their original artwork, felt very timely!”
In chronological order, the Tears and Tearsheets surveys her work with every photographer of note – David Sims, Mert & Marcus, Alasdair McLellan, Tim Walker and Harley Weir (who shot the cover – Bella Hadid in pink leather). The same names pop up again and again; a testament to her love of building a team and sticking with them. “I think you all want to be in a room together and create something that’s not been done before, or is an interesting journey,” Grand says of her friends and collaborators, many of whom turned up to support her last night.
“I suppose I repeatedly work with the same people over and over because I think they are really inspiring. You know I’ve really enjoyed working with Lila [Moss] because I’ve watched her become really interested in playing a character and being a model.” Another repeat entrant in the book is Gisele, from an early Liz Collins beauty shoot with makeup by Charlotte Tilbury, to a Love shoot where she wears archival Yohji Yamamoto, photographed by David Sims. “Gisele I worked with really early on, and then recently worked with her in June. I think maybe if I hadn’t worked with Gisele for the last 15 years, I couldn’t ask her to get into a water tank fully clothed, or put her in a bin for Juergen Teller. If you don’t know Gisele, it’s not like she’s going to turn up and you go, ‘I’ve got this really great idea, can you get into this water tank.’”
Rather than feeling like a hefty tome, the book feels like one of Katie’s magazines, which was very intentional. “It’s weird isn’t it. I look back and it looks like it was shot yesterday,” she laughs. “Some images do come up on Instagram a lot, like the Liz Collins shoot with Gisele. There’s things you do that you’re reminded of a lot so they feel quite current in a way.” Chatting with IDEA’s David Owen, Katie was determined that it didn’t become a retrospective but something that resonated with what’s going on in image-making right now.
“Phoebe Arnold literally did most of the work. She researched it all, she found all the magazines, and then she worked with IDEA on the logistics and production. When Phoebe said, ‘we really need to edit this today,’ we sat down for three hours and … it was fine.” She’d been expecting the whole thing to be a slight ordeal. “I think it was one of those things I dreaded because you don’t want to look at something and feel like it’s a load of baggage. But it didn’t feel like a load of baggage!”
Tears and Tearsheets, as its name suggests, is something you’ll want to take the pages out of and stick them on your walls in a thoroughly teenage manner, reflecting the breakneck-paced six weeks that Katie and team romped through its creation. “I think I’m so controlling in the magazines I’ve worked on, or tend to be controlling, it was quite nice not to be very precious about any of it,” she says, pondering how she made a book quicker than the time it takes to make one of her biannuals. “That’s another thing I wanted the book to have, an energy and be a bit disposable, and feel like magazines felt to me when I was a kid in a way.”
In many ways, it sounds like Grand is returning to the DIY start of her career. “I think I learnt how to make a magazine in my kitchen with Rankin and Jefferson, and I was lucky enough to move from that scenario to Emap Bauer and then Condé Nast. There was always something in my head where I was going to go back to that kitchen table setup, but it would be my own,” she says of Perfect, which closes out the book. “The office that we’re in now has people sitting round a very big table, and it’s not that different to how it was in ‘92,” she laughs. “The table’s a bit nicer though.”
Tears and Tearsheets is published by IDEA, and is out now.