FASHION Magazine September 2016 cover: Karlie Kloss
Showing up early for work wins brownie points, especially if you’re one of the world’s highest paid supermodels. When Karlie Kloss arrives at 9:50 a.m., more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule for FASHION’s Joe Fresh cover shoot in April, her punctuality is almost as impressive as her six-foot-two frame. Her mile-long legs are concealed under a pair of light-wash jeans (cuffed at the ankles), and when she strides over to introduce herself to the team she’s in full gazelle mode. I’ve observed this magnificent creature in her natural habitat before, slinking down catwalks in New York and Paris (her come-hither walk has been dubbed The Panther), but standing here, all smiles and Midwestern charm (she grew up in St. Louis, Missouri), she’s as sweet as a kitten. Up since the crack of dawn to catch a flight from New York to Toronto, the 24-year-old super talent could have worn PJs but instead chose to slay in an off-duty-model kind of way: basics (white T-shirt, jeans) paired with bangin’ accessories (Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, round ’90s-inspired sunnies and a small black backpack). She’s giving street style star vibes, but the sidewalk snaps will have to wait; today’s shoot is all about a working girl’s fall must-haves.
Looking at the racks, it’s clear Joe Fresh has taken the bored out of boardroom dressing and given these hard-working pieces a promotion this season. Classic white button-downs, sleek pencil skirts, paisley print blouses, tweed ladylike skirt suits, and knit sweaters and matching skirts—the brand’s latest lineup is made for cool 9-to-5 girls and crisp fall days. Weekend-wear hits include the brand’s lightweight reversible parkas, which boast solid-coloured exteriors and chic printed interiors like leopard and floral. Perfect for layering or being worn on their own, these toppers are a fashion girl’s gateway to chic cold-weather dressing. There’s also a sea of denim to explore. Our stylist, Zeina Esmail, hooks a head-to-toe look from the racks to show Kloss, who’s heading into hair and makeup. “It’s a Canadian tuxedo,” exclaims Kloss. Many of the pieces that Esmail selected for the shoot are pared-down yet super polished. “It’s Karlie Kloss—she takes the simplest pieces and makes them look like a million bucks,” says Esmail.
Munching on a granola bar, Kloss pulls out her iPhone while chatting to our hair and makeup team, Tony Masciangelo and Susana Hong. Topics range from Washington (she attended the White House Science Fair the day before) to food (“I don’t eat meat, but I love fish”) to her BFF Taylor Swift. Masciangelo styles her hair into an “easy wave that looks super natural,” while Hong subtly plays up Kloss’s eyes. “They can have such intensity even when she’s being playful,” she says. After hair and makeup is done, Kloss changes into the first look—head-to-toe denim—then sits with her agents and the Joe Fresh team at a long table to eat an egg-white omelette. “Could I wear this on the red carpet?” she asks coyly, mock posing in her Canadian tuxedo.
Once the shoot is underway, it takes photographer Max Abadian mere minutes to capture the first shot. Kloss is sitting on the floor, expertly flipping her hair back and forth every few clicks so her honey blonde locks are perfectly tousled. “Yay, one down,” she says, then spends a few minutes Snapchatting on set. Like any millennial, she’s a master at social media, but her millions of followers catapult her into a whole other stratosphere. Wearing a white button-down with a second shirt tied around her waist (no bottoms, Risky Business-style), she nails the second shot as quickly as the first. “There is something really sexy and understated about a woman in just a white shirt,” says Esmail. “The new trend is the anti-trend. We wanted to put Karlie in something timeless but still sexy for the cover.” The white button-down is the canvas, and Kloss’s subtle movements and expressions are the colours that bring it to life. A hint of a smile, eyes that tell a story with a look—if this shot were a painting, it would be a watercolour: soft, romantic and filled with light. “That’s really beautiful,” says Kloss, looking at the shot onscreen. “Marrrrrrrio,” she sings, calling over Joe Fresh president Mario Grauso to see the magic. Grauso and Kloss have known each other since 2008, when they first worked together on a Nina Ricci campaign. She’s also been one of the faces of Joe Fresh since Spring 2015. “It is a joy to be on set with Karlie,” he says. “Her positive energy is contagious.”
After shooting a black crepe shirt-dress with buttons and a tweed skirt suit, Kloss changes into a leopard print sweater and matching skirt when a super fan arrives on set, invited by Team Karlie. Samantha Drautz, a 23-year-old student at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, has taken fan-girling to the next level with Karlie Klossified, an Instagram account she launched in 2015 dedicated to all things Kloss. And that’s a lot—the model is also a student, currently enrolled at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, not to mention a philanthropist. Klossies, a charitable collab with Momofuku Milk Bar, provides meals for disadvantaged children and support to those with pediatric cancer, and Kode With Klossy is a coding camp for teenaged girls. Drautz, who met her icon in 2016 outside one of the venues at New York Fashion Week, was invited to watch the show and snap selfies with her afterward. “I’m so inspired by her,” she says. “She brings awareness to education for women, especially in tech, which is so important right now.”
Kloss zips back to shoot the leopard print look. “Max, why don’t we try one with it out, too,” she says, untucking the sweater from the skirt. Click, click, click. Kloss turns to look at the new photos onscreen. “It was more flattering before,” she says. “You lose the shape when it’s out.” The last outfits of the day are a minimalist black turtleneck, a knit skirt and top, and a white blouse with black waxed jeans. Kloss slips her hand in the front pocket of the jeans and angles her head to the right—the pose is classic and casual, just like the final look.
It’s quitting time, but Kloss isn’t clocking out yet. After thanking everyone, she is whisked out to a car and taken back to her hotel for another round of hair and makeup. She’s attending the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards this evening and will be hitting the red carpet in a custom Joe Fresh gunmetal-grey-tiered gown with a plunging neckline. It sounds so glam, but for this supermodel, it’s all in a day’s werk.