Timothée is British Vogue‘s October cover star! He is the first solo male star to cover the magazine. The October 2022 issue of British Vogue will be newsstands on Tuesday, September 20. Take a look at the photoshoot below!
Photo Sessions > Photoshoots from 2022 > Session 004
BRITISH VOGUE – For the first time in British Vogue’s 106-year history, this month a man is flying solo on our cover. Not that men haven’t found their way on to the front of the magazine in the past: the first was actor and It boy Helmut Berger, alongside Marisa Berenson, photographed by David Bailey for the July 1970 edition. In my time here, impressive men have occasionally had their moments too: one example, footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford, joined Adwoa Aboah in September 2020 to spearhead our “Activism Now” special, alongside many other brilliant faces, both men and women.
But I always held off from a man-only print magazine cover. Forever conscious of Vogue being a space that celebrates women first, I didn’t want it to be a stunt or a statement. Are men in dire need of more places to dazzle on their own, I pondered. The answer, of course, is no. Yet, in turn, it increasingly felt to me that there was something at best old-fashioned, at worst dangerously retro, about these tired old gender boxes. Fashion doesn’t always work that way – is every last piece in your wardrobe strictly designed for the gender with which you identify? I doubt it. Sex and fashion these days is no longer about va-va-voom dressing, it’s about expression and personal ease. It’s about politics and playfulness. It’s about dressing to make yourself feel good. So a man on the print cover? Perhaps I was waiting for the right man. Certainly I was waiting for us all to evolve a little further, for the moment to feel right, to have it feel like less of a “thing”. I wanted it to feel effortless. And then, one day, it… did.
Timothée Chalamet is modern man incarnate, as an actor and as a person. The 26-year-old star has enjoyed a breakneck ascent to the top of Hollywood in the past five years, from an Oscar nomination for Call Me by Your Name in 2018, to box-office dominance in Dune in 2021, to his detailed, nuanced and heartbreaking performance in Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming Bones & All. If this person can make playing a teenage drifter cannibal move your soul, as you will see on cinema screens this autumn, then I figured he was certainly ready for the chameleonic journey of a Vogue cover shoot.
Then, of course, there is Timothée’s feverishly followed fashion persona, a style so innate and self-assured that it inspires women and men alike. From shimmering genderless suiting to his daily wardrobe of vintage T-shirts and easy denim, he doesn’t like to label himself whether he’s off to a concert or caught in the glare of a thousand flashbulbs. When we began talking about the possibility of this cover several months ago, it became immediately apparent that Timothée is just Timothée. Neither tooled nor marketed by the Hollywood and fashion machines to appeal to teens or grandmothers, women or men, he is simply himself. He is a man for everybody.
And so here he is, a young actor at the peak of his early career, who calls to mind the Deans and DiCaprios of past decades, but with a relationship to a new generation that dismantles old-fashioned notions of masculinity as a matter of course. He brought so much energy, humility, joie de vivre, as well as a delightful clutch of character play, to our day on set with photographer Steven Meisel. It made me very happy to hear him describe the shoot as the favourite of his career to date. Sure, we played with gender, incorporated womenswear and generally had a ball, but for Timothée it all felt like the most natural space in the world. In the accompanying profile by Vogue’s Giles Hattersley, he tells all about living at the crossroads of quarter life. By the nature of his unfiltered authenticity, he is leading a quiet revolution in fashion, the arts and celebrity. It was a thrill and I’m honoured to have him as British Vogue’s first solo male cover star.
Elsewhere, the autumn season is in full swing, as seen in our trends section and fashion features. Meanwhile, extraordinary stories include a profile of superstar columnist Marina Hyde and a special audience with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska, photographed alongside her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv in July. Reading about their mission to keep the spotlight on the war, while leading their nation’s hour-to-hour response in the face of an unthinkable siege, is astonishing to behold.
The October 2022 issue of British Vogue is on newsstands on Tuesday 20 September.