MODERN FAMILY: Countless magazines — not to mention shows, shoots and seasonal collections — have been produced under challenging circumstances over the past six months due to quarantines and social distancing. But few projects have come to life as their leader lay in a hospital bed recovering from COVID-19.
Having torn through Milan and Paris fashion weeks, as usual, in February, 10 Magazine’s editor in chief Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou fell critically ill in March and spent nine weeks in the hospital, about half of that time on a ventilator.
She remembers waking up in the hospital at one point, angry and confused and asking, “What’s lockdown?” to which the nurses replied, “All the pubs are closed.”
Neophitou-Apostolou recovered — slowly. Her muscles were so weak she had to relearn how to walk (although not in Alaïa heels), while her unmistakable, booming voice is now a little quieter and scratchier. “My karaoke days are over,” she said during an interview at 10’s townhouse offices in Soho, where she’s back at work and making magazines in earnest.
Her two autumn/winter 2020 issues, 10 and 10 Men, hit newsstands today and the theme of both is family. Neophitou-Apostolou said that she and the team had made that decision even before COVID-19 struck. She had been thinking about the importance of blood relations, “work families” and tight-knit communities for a while and the arrival of the pandemic, and her own scary experience, made the theme all the more poignant.
There are four covers on 10 Magazine, all titled “Family, Forever, Love,” while 10 Men has three, with the cover lines “Uplifting, Community, Belonging.”
The issues also mark the 20th anniversary of 10, and Neophitou-Apostolou wanted to say thank you to her longtime friends and collaborators, including Roland Mouret, Christopher and Tammy Kane, Edward Enninful, Antonio Berardi, Amanda Harlech and Charlotte Stockdale, all of whom have been photographed and interviewed for the magazine.
As a result of all of the COVID-19-related restrictions these past few months, Neophitou-Apostolou ended up saying “please” as well as “thank you,” as she asked many of the contributors for their help with writing, interviews, photo shoots and styling wherever they happened to be spending lockdown.
The photographer Tierney Gearon worked from Los Angeles, photographing herself and her children at home and on the beach in Malibu, while the model Hannelore Knuts, who’s pictured on one of the covers, poses at home in Antwerp with her son Angelo. The Swedish artist Arvida Byström enlisted her parents, grandmother, brother and dog for the shoot.
Byström’s grandmother Kerstin wears a shiny red Balenciaga cape coat, like a character out of “Harry Potter.”
There are family-focused photo shoots by Vanina Sorrenti and Magnus Unnar, and personal essays about growing up by British journalists including Laura Craik, Hadley Freeman and Jess Cartner-Morley. There’s even a personal essay by Giorgio Armani, titled “La Mia Famiglia.”
Andreas Kronthaler photographs his wife Vivienne Westwood at the couple’s Hansel and Gretel-style Austrian chalet (complete with concrete interior). Westwood is wearing pieces from her own fall/winter 2020 collection and from her archive, and has slipped some lines from her latest Save the World manifesto into the feature.
Of the three covers of 10 Men, meanwhile, one features Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci. Inside, the designer talks about his blood family — and his work kin, too. “Marco is like the father I never had. He is the person that changed my life,” says Tisci, referring to Burberry’s chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti, who was also Tisci’s boss at Givenchy.
“I wanted it to be uplifting,” said Neophitou-Apostolou, adding that everyone warmed to the theme, and let their creativity — and authenticity — come to the fore. “I think COVID-19 has made people less guarded about their emotional and personal lives, and more connected to nature and the environment. Lockdown gave people time. The whole world paused,” she said.
She loved letting go, too, allowing her creators to create. “My processes changed a lot, and I realized that you get much better work if you allow your people the freedom to fly.” She also said it was exhilarating to see that the shoots weren’t only about the fashion. “There’s a more layered conversation going on.”
Neophitou-Apostolou added that she found new reserves within herself these past few months: Used to jetting around the world to fashion shows or shoots, she did one shoot — featuring Burberry — at her local park in north London, with the photographer Adama Jalloh.
“It was more local, more personal. You realize that creativity doesn’t have to be an expensive flight to the Bahamas.”
Neophitou-Apostolou said the next issue, which comes out in February, will see a continuation of the family theme — and adopt a new way of working.
“We’re not going back to the same-old, same-old, and I feel so bloody lucky that I have a place where I don’t have to compromise creativity,” she said. “We don’t have to do things the way they’ve been done before. Change is good — even when it’s drastic and frightening.”