“To me, she will always be a legend, like the last of the silent movie stars: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Naomi Campbell.”
So writes British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, who styled his good friend for the cover of the magazine’s highly anticipated March issue—also known as the Spring Fashion Issue, and second only to the September issue in terms of annual impact and revenue. Campbell’s cover is her first for British Vogue since Enninful assumed the helm in the fall of 2017, and her ninth for the magazine.
Indeed, Enninful—who also placed Campbell in the role of contributing editor—still vividly recalls the first day he met Naomi, while on a Parisian shoot for i-D magazine in the early ‘90s.
I can recall her walking into the studio like it was last week. In an Anna Sui dress, with her Whitney Houston curls, there she was – the most beautiful woman in the world.
I was a young fashion director and Naomi was already famous well beyond the industry, but we bonded on sight. After the shoot wrapped, she invited me to jump on a private plane to Dublin with her – I was due back in London and had only £10 in my pocket – but that’s just the way it is with Naomi. A quarter of a century later and she hasn’t changed. You never know where you’re going to end up.
For the March cover story, Enninful, with the help of famed photographer Steven Meisel and makeup maestro Pat McGrath, pay tribute to Naomi’s whirlwind world and seemingly shapeshifting presence—despite always staying indelibly Naomi.
“As a friend, she is kind and very sensitive, yet at the same time she is a fighter – Jamaican, a buffalo soldier – who stands up for herself,” Enninful writes. “With all the flashbulbs, the fashion, the entourages, the jets, the philanthropy, the red carpets and the world leaders on speed dial, she seems to live at twice the pace of the rest of us. All the clichés genuinely do apply to Naomi – you could not make her up and she really is larger than life. ... It is the story of a real woman – and a genuine icon.”
And what’s next for the living legend that is Naomi Campbell? This year, she will also lend her icon status and decades of experience to the 2019 LVMH Prize, where she will be one of several experts assessing who’s got next in fashion. Notably, Virgil Abloh, now head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, is a past prize winner for his line Off-White, proving that much like the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award stateside, the LVMH prize can be a game-changer for young designers.
The Glow Up tip: British Vogue’s Spring Fashion Issue hits stands on February 1. Applications to the LVMH Prize competition are open through February 4.