34 posts tagged "Karen Elson"
Many of Karen Elson’s fans are more used to seeing than hearing the redheaded stunner: in countless editorials and campaigns, and on runways all over the world. But that changes tomorrow, when the multitalented English beauty (don’t call her a “model-slash”) releases her first album, The Ghost Who Walks. Her countrified ballads—recorded in her adopted city of Nashville and produced by her husband, Jack White—should earn her a whole new set of devoted admirers. Below, Elson spoke to Style.com about mournful music, onstage fashion, and her vote for the most heartbreaking sound there is. And click here to check out her acoustic video performance of “Cruel Summer” and hear her sound for yourself.
Your first album, The Ghost Who Walks, is out tomorrow. What sound were you going for with it?
I have a real love for melancholy songs that express the everyday—what’s the word? What’s the right one without sounding too depressing? Honestly, I like songs that are mournful and express heartache and longing. They just feel right to me. It feeds me in a very strange way. I’ve always had a long love of Hank Williams and Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline, and even Nick Cave and PJ Harvey and Mazzy Star. They all—in varying degrees of mournful—they all represent that. It just moves me, that’s all. When I started writing the record, it came out. I think every woman in the span of her life, even me in my thirties, I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve experienced all sides of life. I feel like I’m putting all of those experiences out in my songs, as a way of purging myself of things that maybe I’ve held on to for too long.
You mention country legends like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, and the record has a very country feel. You and your family live in Nashville, one of the great country-music capitals—how did your surroundings contribute to that sound?
Naturally, being in Nashville, it’s hard not to have a somewhat country-esque vibe. Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket played the pedal steel on the record, and when he came into the studio and started playing, I was just in love. Pedal steel with reverb is just the most heartbreaking sound to me—it’s just so gorgeous, I wanted it on every song. There’s definite country leanings, and that’s definitely a byproduct of living in Nashville. But at the same time, I liked those songs even before I moved to Nashville; I had a love for Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris. It just feels good to me.
You’re part of a musical family, and this record is something of a family affair—your husband Jack White [also of the White Stripes and the Dead Weather] convinced you to record, your brother-in-law plays in the band. Did working with them introduce any complications?
It was just what it was. Everybody in our life, we all just sort of contribute any way we can. I’ve been in the studio with Jack before, contributing some backing vocals on a song. Or Jackson [Smith], Meg’s husband, has come into town to play guitar on other projects Jack’s working on. Friends of ours just pop in and do that—it was really quite natural. It wasn’t this thing where it was all of a sudden, Shit, it’s my turn! Damn, better bring the family in. That’s just life down here. We all just chip in and make music and occasionally pat each other on the back and help each other out.
But Jack was incredibly supportive and is incredibly supportive of my record. I feel really lucky to have his support. It was essential to get me over myself—I had to get over myself big time—and have confidence. I was nervous about putting my music out there. “Model-slash-anything”—I cared too much about that. Once I stopped caring, I could get out there and sing my songs, but it took a lot. Continue Reading “Karen Elson, The Ghost Who (Cat)Walks” »
Words Of Wisdom From The Stylish Ms. Smith, The Singing Ms. Elson, The Philosophical Sig. Cucinelli, And More…
Fashion’s obsession with Patti Smith continues, and the Times took the weekend to jump on the bandwagon. But Patti herself could take or leave it. Despite an enviable wardrobe of Demeulemeester and co., she describes her style as, “I don’t care what you think.” (But, OK, she doesn’t mind a Dior gown.) [NYT]
WWD checks in with Karen Elson for some thoughts on her upcoming country album and the precarious state of being a model-hyphenate. “The payoff with singing is that you’re singing your songs,” Elson says. “The payoff with the runway…maybe there isn’t one.” [WWD]
Meanwhile, The New Yorker talks with “beneficent overlord” and cashmere king Brunello Cucinelli (pictured). The gregarious knitwear mogul is bullish on his cashmere, capitalism, and President Obama: “I always say, Obama is my President—the President of the world.” And if that weren’t enough, he’s commissioned a bust of the prez that he chats with from time to time. [New Yorker]
And place those bets while you can: Word on the street is that W‘s new editor in chief will be announced as soon as this week.
Karen Elson (pictured) walked a few New York shows this season, but she’s got her eye on a second career—country chanteuse. The English-born Nashvillian has posted a first song from her upcoming album on her Web site. Designers, we smell a runway soundtrack… [Karen Elson]
Art-loving menswear designer Adam Kimmel—who’s collaborated with artists on most of his presentations, enlisting them as models, photographers, and lately, mask-makers—has been named to the board of directors of MoMA’s P.S.1. [Observer]
Ana Lerario, welcome to the blogosphere. The Lerario Beatriz designer has launched a new blog, where her musings so far include posts on knitwear maintenance, her inspirations, and suggestions for romantic dates. (Cue aww for the photo booth pics of her and her husband, menswear designer Robert Geller.) [Lerario Beatriz]
And well worth a few minutes of watching this afternoon: a vintage Charlie Rose clip, turned up by Boing Boing, featuring Charlie chatting with the late Alexander McQueen. (It’s around the 45-minute mark.) Our favorite revelation: McQueen’s perfect image of woman was Diane Keaton. [Boing Boing via Racked]
Tired of hearing the two words “concept store”? Well, you may just be re-energized by the latest installment of such from London. “Up until now, so many fantastic props from fashion shoots, shows, and ad campaigns wound up in storage, back to the taxidermist, or even chucked,” said photographer Nick Knight at today’s viewing of his new shop on Bruton Place—the retail expansion of his Web site SHOWstudio. “These are real pieces of art, so why not treat them as such?” There it is: the “concept” of the new shop, which happens to be strategically placed nearby the city’s Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, and Rick Owens boutiques. Quite a departure for Knight. “It’s a career move I never counted on—it wasn’t in the plan,” he added. But then, who plans on selling seven-foot stuffed tigers (from an Alexander McQueen for Puma ad) or gigantic eyeballs (from a Karen Elson portfolio)? Among the other goodies are a skull-slashed Union Jack, whipped up by Galliano for a portrait of himself by Knight, and a lion’s head that was made for a Dior show in Versailles—an indication that this ain’t no flea market. The tiger goes for £50,000 (approximately $82,000) and the Galliano Union Jack is £25,000, while the eyeballs are a snip at around £3,000. “It’s not like buying an It bag, to be sure,” said Knight. “But then how often do you get the chance to buy not just art but real fashion history?”