Cover Confidential: Olivier Zahm on His Favorite “Purple” Covers

Editor Olivier Zahm shows us his favorite covers of the controversial and brilliant Purple Magazine -- including that infamous rendering of Lindsay Lohan.

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Founded in 1992, Purple Magazine was created with intent to break from glamorous '80s iconography with realistic fashion photography contributions from the likes of Juergen Teller, Terry Richardson, and indie designers. Here, editor Olivier Zahm shows us his favorite covers. SPRING/SUMMER 2006: "This cover means a lot to me, because it was one of the first steps towards my friendship with Carine Roitfeld," explains Zahm. "Her son made this T-shirt for her before she even began working at Vogue apparently! The story that went along with this cover is really a great insight into the way Carine sees women, the way she poses and her gestures here are so emblematic of her as a woman. She told me that I would see that this cover would bring me luck! And I think she did, because after this cover, Purple really became more successful."
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SPRING/SUMMER 2009: "This was one of the great New York moments for Purple: shooting a New York fashion icon like Diane von Furstenberg, in her home and studio in the Meatpacking District. It was great! She came in in a bodysuit and threw on this Martin Margiela 'hair coat.' She is a legend, and really played along well with Terry Richardson (whom she knew when he was a child). She told me 'Olivier, if I put no skirt on, will you put me on the cover?' Of course, I couldn't refuse."
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FALL/WINTER 2007: "This was one of the most fun cover shoots -- it was the last shoot that we did at the old Purple Institute, before we moved from our big warehouse in the 10th district of Paris to the center," says Zahm. "We used to shoot lots of the stories here, have fashion shows, and for a while there was even a café and boutique. This cover was a celebration of my Paris best friend André, shot by my New York best friend Terry Richardson. Even though he looks really gay, he enjoyed it!"
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SPRING/SUMMER 2010: "Lindsay Lohan was probably the most controversial cover we ever did, because she is the opposite of who the Purple readership expect as a Purple celebrity," says Zahm. "This is why it was actually really great to do it. Because Purple is also a magazine where you are able to discover the real persona of the people we present, especially when they are shot by Terry Richardson. Of course, a lot of Christian groups didn't really appreciate this cover ..."
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SPRING/SUMMER 2011: "I was glad to come back to Paris for this cover. Laetitia Casta really is a role model and icon for the French," says Zahm. "She is gorgeous, and every shot of her was beautiful. After Andre, this is one of the rare covers that celebrates a French person. Purple is a French magazine, and she represents French beauty as voluptuous as the Maillol sculpture in the Tuileries.
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FALL/WINTER 2008: "This is another Mario Sorrenti cover, with Kate Moss," Zahm explains. "I was really happy to have these two old lovers together on the cover of Purple. My initial idea was to have Mario naked on the cover! He said yes but didn't tell me that in the end he would hide naked behind Kate Moss."
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FALL/WINTER 2010: "This was Chloe Sevigny's second Purple cover. She is really the quintessential Purple woman. She is strong and sexy, has the most amazing personal style, and is a true New York icon, as everyone knows. Having her on the cover was a way for us to reconnect with the very beginning of the magazine, because she was in the very first issue of Purple Fashion and she's still by our side."
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FALL/WINTER 2010: "This cover was kind of a reaction to the Lindsay Lohan 'Christ' cover. After the crucifixion of the Virgin Mary, played by Lindsay Lohan, we went deeper into blasphemy by having the Black Madonna, interpreted by the most androgynous, trendy, and lesbian model of the moment."
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