Letter from the editor
THREE JEWELLERY DESIGNERS COMPETING IN THE BIRKS X ET CANADA JEWELLERY DESIGN CHALLENGE WERE GIVEN THE SURPRISE TASK OF STYLING THREE MUSICIANS WITH PIECES FROM BIRKS. IT WAS THEIR SECOND CHALLENGE IN THE COMPETITION. JASALYN THORNE WON THIS ONE AND THE O
For this month, I thought I would peel back the veneer a wee bit to give you some BTS intel on how this issue came together. Let’s start with the cover. It’s theoretically possible for a photo shoot to be an uncomplicated affair, but the odds are in line with one finding a Birkin bag at Winners. Most of the time, there are logistical challenges, scheduling conflicts and creative differences that need to be delicately brokered. And then there are some cover shoots that are simply cursed. That was the case this month.
The original plan was to have Dua Lipa on the cover of our music- and love-themed issue, but three hours into what had already been an epically complicated shoot, she had to leave our set because she felt unwell due to a bout of strep throat. Earlier that day, she’d had to cancel her Montreal concert—so let’s just say the mood on set was a little raw. “When I arrive at the studio in the afternoon, it feels like I’m walking into a funeral,” writes features editor Greg Hudson in “Dua Lipa Doesn’t Have a Cold, Exactly” (page 53). “The air is charged with the silence that erupts after someone unintentionally says something too real. Lipa is leaning against a random automobile. The pose could almost be mistaken for sultry, but when you look closer, you realize she’s leaning against the car for support.”
In this line of work—as in life—it’s advisable to have a Plan B. We didn’t have a coverworthy shot that would have made anyone happy—most of all Lipa!—but luckily we still had to shoot our fashion editorial “The Friend Zone” (page 79) with Canadian models Meghan Collison and Janice Alida. The image by photographer Max Abadian is stylishly rock ’n’ roll with a captivating ’90s vibe thanks to styling by our fashion editor-at-large, Zeina Esmail. #Phew.
Besides glitches—which are often unavoidable—there are always moments of pure joy when we put this magazine together each month. Spending a day on set with the women to my left was one of those moments. We were shooting three Canadian musicians for “The (Em)Power(Ment) of Love” (page 58) by Jess Huddleston. Their uncensored passion for their music and their unencumbered freedom to express themselves were inspiring. They were also creatively open to being styled by three designers competing in the Birks x ET Canada Jewellery Design Challenge. Spending a day with women who are doing what they love— while embracing all the inevitable setbacks—is powerfully motivating.
Another highlight this month was reading the mood essay “Dusk in February” (page 72) by Canadian novelist Anne Michaels. In her piece—which has nothing to do with music—Michaels eloquently and subtly captures the profound bond between two people who are engaged in what she aptly describes as the most dangerous kind of love. It’s not what you think—in fact, it’s the kind of love that is often dismissed as uncomplicated yet involves surrendering “to the deep, loyal grief of loving someone more than oneself.” In other words, it’s a romance that could inspire a hauntingly beautiful and iconic love song.