the stories behind i-D’s most iconic covers

Naomi Campbell, Paolo Roversi, Lily Cole and Pat McGrath tell the tales of fashion's most memorable images.

by Sarah Raphael
29 June 2015, 3:04pm

"The best photographers for i-D are able to catch the spirit of the moment." Terry Jones

In 1994, Steven Klein shot Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell walking arm in arm through the Meatpacking District in New York, close to his studio. Naomi remembers the drag queens in the district screaming their names as he took the picture. That photo, which is the cover of i-D's The US Issue, captured the spirit of the moment.

VIEW every single cover here.

Compiled below are extracts from the 2010 i-D Covers Book, published by Taschen. You'll find the stories behind Madonna's iconic 1984 cover, behind Kylie Minogue's 1991 cover, behind Tom Ford's dog's cover (RIP) and Daisy Lowe's nude The Couples Issue cover, told by the stars, photographers, stylists, make up artists and dogs on set. Context is a beautiful thing. Read on!

The In Future Issue, No. 7, September 1982
"I found Kate at Kensington Market, I think. There is a full-length portrait of her in the content of the issue, on page 23. The cover photo was done in the back garden of the i-D house and fair bit of improvisation was required." James Palmer, Photographer

The Head to Toe Issue, No. 8, October 1982
"Scarlett O'Horror was working as a hairdresser at Antenna on Kensington Church Street. She was also well known on the London nightlife scene at the time. I photographed her in various looks in the 80s and did a short horror movie and music video with her. When she came to visit me in Munich in 1980, she and her style caused crowds to gather and stare. 25 years on and I met her in London in 2007. Now she is Scarlett the heavenly healer." Thomas Degen, Photographer

The Out Already Issue, No. 10, December 1982
"Steve Johnston took this picture one afternoon when we had the studio to ourselves. We made a makeshift backdrop to lean against the photocopier (did we even have a photocopier?!), in a tiny space of about 4' x 4'. We had to crouch down so as not to spray water all over the artwork boards. I put on some eyeliner and bright red lipstick, filled the water pistol and squirted my winking eye madly while Steve took a few shots. I vaguely recollect being under the impression that the water pistol shot was just a test run, so when Terry told me he was actually going to use it I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or dismayed!" Moira Bogue, cover star and former i-D Art Editor

The All Star Issue, No. 14, April 1983
"The Sade issue was the first issue I worked on when I arrived at i-D in late 1983. The issue was a turning point for i-D, because not only was it portrait and not landscape, but it was an image of someone who was escaping the London club scene. This was not only Sade's attempt at going for the big time, it was i-D's too. This was Sade's first ever cover, at least six months before The Face, and I loved it because it looked like a Fiorucci ad. I'd just come back from two weeks in Japan with ex-Blitz kid Stephen Linard, and remember encouraging him to have his picture taken with his pink ghetto blaster - the one that caused such consternation when we spent three hours on a stopover at Moscow airport. At that time everyone I knew ended up in the magazine..." Dylan Jones, former i-D Editor

The SeXsense Issue, No. 15, May 1984
"I'd seen Madonna perform in a Paris nightclub to about 100/200 people and knew I loved her energy. When she arrived at the studio for the Mark Lebon portrait, she was wearing a black plain T-shirt. We decided if she could wink, we might put her on the cover. Terry was worried about her plain black tee, so I whipped off my brand new BOY white mohair jumper and stood around in my bra while she modeled it for the picture. My sister was modeling on the same shoot and she and Madonna chatted happily about New York. It was one of those no standing on ceremony shoots that were so typical of the day." Caryn Franklin, former i-D Co-Editor

The Dramatic Issue, No. 39, August 1986
"Robert Erdmann was very supportive of me; he was one of the first top three photographers that would use me in London. I had only been modeling for four months, so it was all really new to me. I worked with Robert a lot and it was such an honor to be on an i-D cover! It was like 'Wow!' They were good times. It was so exciting, there was so much energy and I loved the reverse effect and Indian head dress." Naomi Campbell, coverstar

The Love Life Issue, No. 90, March 1991
"My first i-D cover was styling Kylie Minogue in 1991. It was a black and white cover shot by Robert Erdmann. Kylie Minogue was really big at the time. She'd just finished Neighbours, just released I Should Be So Lucky and was about to change her image. That was a real turning point for her. She wore a black PVC bustier, long black gloves and it was just a really, really cool shoot. I still have Polaroids. Judy Blame art directed it and it kind of turned things around for Kylie. I was Judy's assistant and then he promoted me; so the jobs he couldn't or wouldn't do he gave to me, and the jobs that he wanted a hand with, he directed and I styled. Kylie was brilliant and we're still friends now. I went on to style two videos for her and I still see her. She's great. I guess we're around the same age. My main memory is Kylie sitting editing film. It was before photographers owned the rights to their pictures and any time Kylie had her picture taken, she took full control of her image. She would review the film and any pictures she didn't like of herself, she basically cut out with a pair of scissors. Any picture you ever saw of Kylie was approved by Kylie; nothing ever went out that wasn't. I've never seen anyone have so much control or be so into their image. She was way ahead of everyone else." David, Stylist

The Europe Issue, No. 116, May 1993
"Bjork is an absolute delight. I remember we all sang opera together that day." Pat McGrath, Beauty Director, i-D

The US Issue, No. 131, August 1994
"I remember shooting until three or four in the morning. We shot it in the Meat Packing District in New York and there were crowds in the street screaming Kate and Naomi's name. It was hysterical!" Pat McGrath, Beauty Director i-D

The US Issue, No. 131, August 1994
"Kate was living with me at this point, in-between my place and Christy's (Turlington). We were really close at this time and having lots of fun in New York. We shot this in the Meatpacking District and all the drag queens were going crazy! This is when Pat McGrath entered my life too. It was great to be shooting this for i-D, a British magazine, it always feels special when you're doing it for England." Naomi Campbell, cover star

The World Class Issue, No. 174, April 1998
"The creative freedom at i-D is something that resonates with me still today. The entire team - editors, photographers, stylists, make-up and hair stylists - were some of the most inspiring people that I've worked with throughout my career. Both of my i-D covers celebrate the woman that I am. It was such a fun, cool experience and I loved winking for i-D!" Alek Wek, cover star

The Very Blue Issue, No. 178, August 1998
"My first i-D cover was photographed by Juergen Teller. I arrived in a pair of ancient cords I'd been wearing throughout college and an old vintage T-shirt emblazoned with 'FEEL THE FORCE'. He decided he wanted to shoot me exactly as I was - fresh face and wonky hair. My choice of outfit proved symbolic that day as the whole creative team decided I looked comfortable and happy being in my own skin. Juergen wanted real beauty and by letting my personality shine we didn't need embellishment." Erin O'Connor, cover star

The Man and Beast Issue, No. 211, July 2001
"I was sleeping when the doorbell rang. It was Terry Richardson, I was so happy to see him I jumped up and down wagging my tail, but then I did that when anyone was at the door. Terry had come to photograph Tom for an i-D cover. At some point during the session, Terry said, "What about John in the photo?" I was thrilled at the attention. At first the shot of Tom and me together wasn't working, so Terry said, "John, open your mouth a little, it's sexier." The thought of me doing Linda Evangelista's mouth was so preposterous, I burst out laughing. FLASH! It was done." John Buckley-Ford (RIP), cover star

The Bedroom Issue, No. 213, September 2001
"This was one of the last photo shoots Aaliyah did before she was killed in a plane crash. She was so young; it was crazy. The cover came out days after the accident; it was already at the printers when she died. I remember hearing the news and not believing it." Matt Jones, Photographer

The Artistic Issue, No. 228, February 2003
"I love this cover because of the soup tin! I've always tried to collect anything with Campbell's on it… within reason of course, because Warhol is so expensive! It was a great collection that Philip [Treacy] did and I loved all the hats from this collection. Michael Boadi did the hair on this and again he was model booker, art director, everything! We love Michael, he was so much more than a hairdresser. He had such passion and always gave 110%." Naomi Campbell, cover star

The Iconic Issue, No. 235, September 2003
"This cover photographed by Tesh is actually one of my favorite covers. It was very exciting, very sexy and very beautiful. We shot it in Berlin and I wore a blonde wig, which was kind of crazy, but looked really beautiful. I shot my second cover with Matt Jones when I was pregnant [The Name Issue, No. 258, September 2005]. It was my first nude photo shoot, but because I was pregnant it felt different. I still have the picture. It's one photograph that I've actually framed. I love that picture; there's so much beauty in that picture." Liya Kebede, cover star and supermodel

The New Dawn Issue, No. 247, September 2004
"We shot the i-D photos at night because Pat McGrath, Edward Enninful, Richard Burbridge and I had such conflicting schedules. Night was the only time we could get together!" Jessica Stam, cover star

The Celebration Issue, No. 250, December/January 2004
"Shooting Gwen Stefani in couture in Kentish Town, being serenaded by fans from neighboring council estates. It was the 250th Special." Matt Jones, Photographer

The Faith Issue, No. 260, November 2005
"My assistant at the time, Chris, was dressed in a ridiculous Ape suit for the shoot. Naomi and he were bouncing on a trampoline. Somehow, even though Chris is a big guy, Naomi managed to continually double bounce him. Problem was, we were shooting on a roof top eleven stories high, over one of New York's busiest streets. In the manic seconds to capture the shot, I told him to toughen up. Looking back we were lucky Chris was not Chris 'the flying Ape' who landed in traffic! Things you do to get the shot." Ben Watts, photographer

The Home Issue, No. 261, December 2005
"I was super proud to be on the cover of i-D. Looking back it was a risk to put me on the cover; especially back then. I wouldn't say I was particularly stylish. I just rocked up in my Adidas hoodie and didn't take much styling or direction, but to be fair it was a great shoot and made a brilliant cover". Lady Sovereign, cover star

The Scratch and Sniff Issue, No. 266, May 2006
"I love i-D. As a London girl I grew up familiar with its cutting edge stories and iconic imagery, so I was honored to join the women (and men) who've managed to blink their way onto a cover! This cover was shot with Tim Walker and Edward Enninful who are always a joy to work with and the flower-covered-eye was an idea made spontaneously one sunny London day!" Lily Cole, cover star

The We Got Issues Issue, No. 273, February 2007
"Shooting a thirteen year-old Brazilian surfer as a sixteen year old tomboy, whilst his mother watched, could only happen in i-D. That's why we all love i-D so much." Collier Schorr, photographer

The Couples Issue, No. 279, August 2007
"It was the second time I'd ever been to New York and we shot in the lower East side at Terry [Richardson]'s studio. It was boiling hot and Terry had this poor fellow jumping around and dancing his arse off without a break for a couple of hours, like a dj and his hype man. I felt natural and relaxed with Daisy in front of the camera at the time, but I remember one of our friends' calling us "fucking perverts!" on seeing it in print for the first time (in front of Daisy's mother!) It's documentation of an incredible period of my young life and I'm proud to have shared that." Will Blondelle, cover star

The Artisan Issue, No. 290, August 2008
"This was so special to me. I remember I first worked for Yves Saint Laurent when I was seventeen and then being asked to be the face of the YSL for fall/winter 2008, almost two decades later, and shooting this cover with Stefano…it was very overwhelming and incredible. It was the same year we lost Yves, but I had heard he was really happy to hear that I was the face of the ads. Stefano made the cover so incredibly modern and classic and elegant. I asked him 'What am I going to wear?' and he said 'Nothing!' He had this vision, he is so amazing and a close friend. I really loved working with Inez and Vinoodh too. I love being directed and they just knew exactly what they wanted and got it so quickly. It was an honor to do this. I love this cover." Naomi Campbell, cover star

The Best of British Issue, No. 297, March 2009
"The Best of British cover was shot in New York just before Christmas and outside the studio it was snowing like crazy. I was so excited to get to work that day. Edward and Solve are such an explosive pair, they conjure up so many beautiful images together whilst making everyone giggle hysterically. They made me feel like a real woman that day... It was the first time I'd really felt like one. What a wonderful feeling! Thanks i-D!" Daisy Lowe, cover star

The F.U.N Issue, No. 301, Pre-Fall 2009
"SpongeBob SquarePants is a sponge who lives under the sea in Bikini Bottom, so the most interesting part of creating a 6 page fashion feature for i-D was figuring out how on earth our lovable sea sponge could possibly end up wearing new season Tom Ford. As a result the high spec photo real artwork, which was specially created by the Nickelodeon US creative team, is a true fashion story. SpongeBob wins the coveted 'Fry Cook of the Year' award for his dedication and flair in flipping Krabbie Patties at the Krusty Krab. For the second time in his life, SpongeBob enters the spotlight and becomes a celebrity, spending the day being styled for his debut on the red carpet. After trying Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs SpongeBob settles on a sailor theme and wears vintage Jean Paul Gaultier for his time to shine. A lot of love and care from both sides of the Atlantic went into the creation of the four fashion images and the two SpongeBob covers. We're proud to have it on our wall." Nickelodeon

The Home Is Where The Heart Is Issue, No.306, Spring 2010
"When I shoot a cover for i-D, I always like to do something very fresh and very natural, like the picture I shot of Georgia Jagger for the Winter 2009 Flesh and Blood Issue. The first cover I did for i-D was Kirsten Owen for The Anarchy Issue [No. 82, July 1990]. She was not winking, she was almost crying and it was a special cover. I'm very happy with my Natalia Vodianova cover [Spring, April 2010] because I think that Natalia looks like a really young, young girl. She is a young girl, but she is a mother with three children, but she looks like a child herself and I like that. So, voila, c'est tout. Ciao." Paolo Roversi, Photographer

The Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Issue, No.307, Summer 2010
"Ask any model working today if they have ever practiced a pose and the only answer you'll ever hear is "my wink". Shooting for i-D is most models' dream and to be honored with the cover is just the icing on the cake. I will treasure those days spent in the windy desert of L.A with the sun beating down thinking how far I've come from Jamaica, laughing at Dan's jokes, giggling with Marie. Congratulations i-D for 30 years at the top." Jeneil Williams, cover star


Text Sarah Raphael

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