Editor’s Letter | May/June 2012

Michael Shome

Scratching your head and asking, “What’s with the cover?” This, you’re probably thinking, was the one magazine left in the civilized world that didn’t traffic in celebrities to sell itself. But at the same time, Departures has always been a magazine that prided itself on delivering something different, an element of surprise—particularly on the cover—that you wouldn’t find anyplace else. So when contributor Robin Morgan, a British journalist, photography archivist and former editor in chief of London’s Sunday Times Magazine, asked if we might be interested in looking at a few never-before-seen images by photographer Terry O’Neill, we jumped. After all, our recently arrived news director, Doug Brod, was beginning to put together May/June’s Culture Guide, and we thought, Just maybe there’s something here. O’Neill is one of the most celebrated photographers in the world; his treasure trove of images, featuring many of the richest and most famous, is now also among the most valuable photo archives on the planet. I have treasured my one and only Terry O’Neill—Frank Sinatra in Miami Beach—for many, many years. That said, little did I know that, thanks to Robin and Terry, we would get our hands on an embarrassment of…Rolling Stones riches, never seen or published before. As for the specific image of Mick Jagger on the cover, here’s what Terry has to say:

“Mick and the Stones were starting to get some traction soon after I took this photograph, in 1963. They’d had one mediocre hit with ‘Come On,’ but they’d managed to get on a tour, low down the bill, with the Everly Brothers, in town halls around England. The music press had taken notice of them, and they were invited on to Ready Steady Go!, which was the show that broke almost all the famous acts of the ’60s we know today. The boys were in the dressing room waiting to go on, and Mick was wearing this fur-hooded parka and lurking around. I got this one straight portrait out of him before he started sticking his tongue out—I got that one too. But back then newspapers and magazines wanted clean-cut young men in suits and mop-top haircuts. One editor did run some pictures that I took of the Stones—next to a set I did of the Dave Clark Five, who were a very wholesome band. He put a headline across the photographs: ‘Beauty and the Beasts.’ And the rest is history: The Beasts won.”

So, too, did Departures.

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find an eclectic mix of stories ranging from art collector Jean Pigozzi’s wonderfully mad house in Panama, with its high-wired decor, eccentric collection of art furniture and one-of-a-kind objects, to the Hôtel du Cap, perhaps the most glamorous hotel anywhere, which, with the opening of this month’s Cannes film festival, becomes the chicest, most star-studded address in the world. A more, let’s say, spiritual itinerary can be found following Brad Gooch’s journey to Konya, in southwestern Turkey, which was home to the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. And one of our favorite discoveries is the work of artist Pier Paolo Calzolari of Italy’s enormously influential, but rather lesser-known, Arte Povera movement, currently showing at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City.

The Insiders

I’d like to officially welcome three new contributors to Departures, whose bylines appear this month—some more than once.

Our new Site Specific columnist is none other than the worldly interior designer Adam Tihany, who, in this issue, checks out what’s happening in Rome and is behind some of the most interesting hotels, restaurants and interiors in the world.

Alexandra Wolfe wrote her first article for us a year ago on the new Upper East Side. Since then she’s trekked everywhere, from Hong Kong to Silicon Valley to Miami, but this month she stayed closer to home, reporting deskside on cybersecurity for our New Think section, which should send you running back to your own desk and computer screen ASAP.

An architecture and design expert, New York Times contributor Fred Bernstein writes on those subjects like nobody else. That’s why we dispatched him to Central America to figure out exactly what Jean Pigozzi was up to in that wild and crazy house of his, down Panama way.