With a new album on deck and tour dates ahead, the musician reflects on the beauty-blogger phenomenon, her Gucci perfume campaign, and why disposable culture has her chasing that “forever feel.”
VANITY FAIR – When has Los Angeles lore not been in fashion? As the Chateau Marmont earns its nonagenarian stripes this month, that “high-thread-count clubhouse” lives on as the nexus of Hollywood’s foibles and fascinations. In 2011, when the ingenue Lana Del Rey released the single “Video Games,” the music video shimmered with vintage footage of the property. Years later, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele took his own deep dive into Marmont memorabilia, turning out logo-embossed satchels and reimagined laundry bags for his Cruise 2019 collection. “It’s possible that no hotel in America inspires so much nostalgia, speculation, and sheer devotion,” writes Mark Rozzo in the 2019 Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair. It’s not a surprise that Del Rey and Michele are fans.
This time, the musician and the designer are coming together for a different kind of rewind—back to an era of body-hugging jumpsuits and sparkling laundromats, hairspray and patchouli-tinged perfume—to launch the campaign for Gucci Guilty. Del Rey, the face of the his-and-hers fragrance alongside Jared Leto, recalls meeting Michele early into his Gucci tenure. “He told me that he had been putting together a lot of his collections while listening to my music,” she says in a call from rainy Los Angeles. “Needless to say, I was definitely flattered!”
The campaign has a big-screen flair, with locations ranging from a classic diner to a nondescript supermarket (a roaming ostrich notwithstanding). The glamour—like the hair, styled by Paul Hanlon—is dialed way, way up. “We hadn’t really been thinking about nostalgia but just something that had a forever feel,” she says, likening the shoot to her recent Super 8-style music videos. “If you can mix that sensibility with a modern one”—Gucci’s mission in a nutshell—“you know you’re doing it right.”
Here, Del Rey, whose sixth album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, is out later this year, unpacks that loaded title, laughs about the slow-dance lesson with a teenage crush, and talks up her version of self-care.
BUKU Music + Art Project has announced the lineup for its 2019 festival, which will feature performances from Lana Del Rey, ASAP Rocky, Louisiana’s own Kevin Gates, and more. The two-day fest takes place on March 22 and 23 in New Orleans.
The aforementioned acts are joined by a huge list of rising stars and veterans in hip-hop, EDM, and rock, including GRiZ, Ella Mai, Suicideboys, Playboi Carti, Gunna, Toro Y Moi, Death Grips, Yaeji, Denzel Curry, J.I.D, EarthGang, Doja Cat, Rico Nasty, and more. From the looks of the full lineup, the fest hosted in Mardi Gras World on the banks of the Mississippi remains EMD heavy.
This 2019 iteration marks the eighth anniversary of the annual arts festival. Some of the ticket proceeds will support the Upbeat Academy Foundation, a non-profit organization providing New Orleans youth with opportunities to study hip-hop and dance music production. In addition to musical acts, BUKU hosts dozens of visual artists and galleries for an immersive experience. Earlier this year, 17,500 people attended the NOLA-based event, making it BUKU’s biggest fest to date.
Tickets for BUKU go on sale next week on Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. CT and will be available on the festival’s website. Last year, tickets sold out, so you might want to mark your calendars and snag yours sooner rather than later. The options include general admission, VIP, and an extra VIP dubbed “Too Buku,” which includes access to after parties and its own special lineup. The fest is a 17+ only event.
Lust comes in many forms here in Hollywood, as well as out there beyond the Tinsel where it’s a tad more… normal? You’ve got your sexual lust, power lust, wanderlust, object lust, lust for intimacy, lust for that which dare not speak its name, follower lust, lost youth lust, future lust, pornographic lust, biblical lust, virtual lust. Anyway you skin it, though, lust is interestingly something wholly contained to our own psyche. It has no antecedent, no binary, only fractal likenesses spreading out over history, the now, and the speculative future. Sure, two lusters may collide between the sheets following a plastics convention in Islamabad, around a hearty bowl of moqueca de camarao in a Bahian resort, or a ’67 Porsche 911 in Pebble Beach. But what’s to say these individuals’ lust for the other’s body, the soup, the auto, is equivocal, let alone measurable? No, lust, in its rawest form, is something we must repress, exercise, weigh, or value entirely on our own.
Consider the new record from superstar, Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life. When considering, might we assume this particular “lust” to have some corrupted layer to it? Some sort of invasive, or melancholic, or alienating undertone? Something mysterious?* Why might we? Well, because those are the sort of insinuations we tend to foist upon the Lana Del Rey we’ve come to know, or presume we know, over the last near decade, be it through the multitudinous, oft-confounded media halo around her, or perhaps our own desire for her to personally fulfill on some of the themes bandied about her discography. Lana Del Rey is mentally unwell. Lana Del Rey is violence-obsessed. Lana Del Rey is lost in an abandoned era. Lana Del Rey is… happy? “I think I was feeling happy that I was present, and not afraid in a way that I couldn’t enjoy my everyday things,” the musician says of the new record’s title, sat in blue jeans, cross-legged on the floor of a Chateau Marmont hotel suite, enjoying French fries and a Diet Coke on a balmy, breezy Friday afternoon. “I’m the kind of person that really loves those things. Like when I drive, I love every road, and I can’t believe that I’m in L.A. I love the architecture, grabbing a coffee, striking up conversation with the people I encounter. And I hate when I can’t enjoy the little things because in the back of my head I have concerns or preoccupations. So for me, it was that sort of lust for life. It was kind of just about happiness.”
Are we ok with that? Can we appreciate a lust from Grammy-nominated Del Rey if it’s not tortured or muddied, glass eyed, drowning in itself? Can this fifth full-length follow previous efforts with titles like Born to Die (2012) or Ultraviolence (2014) with calm, with appreciation for the light and the trees and the way our foamy cappuccino looks so god damned beautiful? It doesn’t really matter, for we’ll never know this lust’s exactitude as I suggest above, and that’s ok. And anyway, nothing is more undefinable or elusive than happiness. What does matter is that the songs on the record possess an incredible richness in production, there’s some excellent and legendary guests on a few tracks, and from the artist’s point of view, a kind of carving down in scope, what I’ll venture to call a distinct maturation in her oeuvre. “The record has fewer dimensions,” she remarks. “But they’re more beautiful than in the past. I had no idea that would make it easier to talk about.” Has this ease with discussing the content perhaps coincided with a sort of softening, or openness toward her in the arenas of public or journalistic reception? “I feel that,” she says thoughtfully. “And it’s helped me be more open as well. Because it’s hard to talk about your innermost feelings if you feel the reception will be cold. And I hung back for a while. I did a handful of interviews, but not many in the last few years. But also I was writing and writing, and digging through stuff, and not writing things as easy to digest or discuss. It still comes from me, but as I’ve evened out as a person, I don’t have as much I don’t want to say. I feel comfortable.”
The singer on sexual magnetism, love and how to be happy
‘Happiness is the ultimate life goal. I think it’s the only thing that’s important.’
In a candid interview to mark the release of her stunning new album ‘Lust for Life’, Lana Del Rey opens up to ELLE about coming through the difficulties in her life and career, to find a new sense of happiness.
On Who Lana Really Is
She tells us her famed chanteuse persona has become less of a prop for her now. ‘I know that if I had more of a persona [before], I have less of one now. And I think it comes down to getting a little older. Maybe I needed a stronger look or something to lean on then. But I feel like it wouldn’t be hard for me today to play a mega show in jeans without rehearsing and still feel like I was coming from the right place.’
Talking about feeling more positive at this time in her life, she tells us, ‘All the tough things that I have been through – that I’ve drawn upon [in my work] – don’t exist for me anymore. Not all my romantic relationships were bad, but some of them challenged me in a way that I didn’t want to be challenged and I am happy I don’t have to do that now.’
One of the lessons she has learnt is avoiding the types of men she’s been drawn to in the past.
‘For me, the dream is to have a little bit of edge, the sexiness, the magnetism, the camaraderie, be on the same page and all that stuff, but without the fallout that comes from a person who is really selfish and puts only their needs first, which is like a lot of frontmen if we’re talking about musicians!’
‘I’m going to write a book one day called, “The curse of the frontman and why you should always date a bassist.”‘
Lana has released her second song for her upcoming album, Lust For Life. The song also features The Weeknd, and you can purchase the song here! What do you think of Lana’s new single?
— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) April 19, 2017
Lana announced the title of her upcoming album! The album is called, Lust For Life. Check out the album trailer below.
You know, in this town, an artist really needs a lot of space when they’re trying to create something special. A place to cultivate a world of their own, far away from the real world that’s around them. Luckily for me, I live right inside the middle of the “H” of the Hollywood sign. And this is how I spend most of my nights: perched high above the chaos that swirls within the city of angels below.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love to dip my toe into the muck and the mires of the city every now and then. Especially on Tuesdays. But truthfully, when I’m in the middle of making a record, especially now when the world is in the middle of such a tumultuous period, I find I really need to take the space for myself far away from real life, to consider what my contribution to the world should be in these dark times.
So each morning, I have the luxury of asking myself, “What shall I cook up for the kids today? Something with a little spice? Something with a little bitterness but is ultimately sweet? Or shall I take the day off and turn down the fire, and just take a moment to send my love to them over the ether?” Because sometimes, just being pure of heart and having good intentions and letting them be known is the most worthy contribution an artist can make.
So, even though these times can feel a little bit crazy, they’re not so very different from what other generations have experienced at one time or another before. Amidst all the uncertainty, and as we transition out of one era into another one, there’s no place I’d rather be than smack-dab in the middle of “Holly-weird” making this record for you. Because you, and the music, and this place, are my love, my life, my lust for life.