It remains to be seen, obviously, who is on the cover of Vogue’s November issue. September was the supers, and October, Kate Winslet; it’s wild to me that a star of Angelina Jolie’s magnitude, who hasn’t given a ton of interviews of late, would be relegated (in a sense; perhaps just comparatively) to a digital cover, but I don’t know whom you bump from the lineup to make it work. It feels like a waste of a great photo, though, and a great Annie Leibovitz photo, to boot. Her covers have been unpopular lately, but this one is spirited and bright and funky, and unlike most of Angelina’s past ones — on any publication — because those usually go in close on her face. Even without her name, this would be so clear who it is; it’s fun that they trusted that and just let her be fierce and play with spray paint. Then again, it’s a digital cover, so maybe with that comes more freedom — like a subscriber cover, and how often they, too, are more interesting than what Vogue assumes works on a newsstand. In sum, I love it, and it’s a shame we WON’T get to see it at Hudson News. This also feels like a pretty good get, so I hope November’s cover is worth it.

Anyway, Angelina is promoting Atelier Jolie, something even Vogue admits is “broadly defined,” and even after reading this article I don’t have any better idea. Angie says she views it as a collaborative design workshop and cultural center that also has gallery spaces and a cafe where you can stud your own clothes:

“I’ve met a lot of artisans over the years—very capable, talented people—and I’d like to see them grow,” Jolie says as she gives me a tour of the space before the contractors go to work. Her list of collaborators includes the London-based milliner Justin Smith, the American artist Duke Riley, and South African lacemaker Pierre Fouché—but, she says, “it’s not really about fashion.” Nor is Atelier Jolie about her, she is quick to add. “I don’t want to be a big fashion designer. I want to build a house for other people to become that.”

Throughout, it cites — and features — Atelier Jolie designs, so… are they hiring those designers or giving them space to incubate their own labels? But then also doing… tailoring and bespoke work? I thought a core component of it was using deadstock (surplus fabrics, or fabrics that might not have passed a quality test — basically, designer leftovers), and while that word is mentioned once in conjunction with the tailors, I can’t tell if it’s also a mandate of… whatever in-house designing is or isn’t happening here. Angelina is also working with refugee organizations, for example to staff the cafe, so I think this is a big ol’ melting pot of things she’s passionate about, and what I can’t tell is if it’s trying to be too many of those things right off the bat. Then it takes us to Gabriela Hearst, with whom Angelina is producing a collaboration, which sort of runs counter to her assertion that she doesn’t want to be a designer. I wonder if this is primarily about trying to create a family business for her kids that’s JUST hers to share, as opposed to all those joint ventures that Brad Pitt has tainted? First I guess it has to OPEN. That part comes in November.

[Photo: Annie Leibovitz; story by Chioma Nnadi/Vogue]