The Supremes, London Heathrow, 1965.
Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer

How the Most Fashionable Celebrities Made the Airport Their Runway

Renowned Rolling Stone creative director Jodi Peckman’s new book features Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, and Naomi Campbell strutting their stuff

Lady Gaga, Los Angeles International, 2015. Photo: GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

As the longtime creative director of Rolling Stone, Jodi Peckman was the visionary behind some 400 of the magazine’s most legendary covers, working with icons from Bruce Springsteen to Barack Obama to the cast of Friends. It was during countless hours of photo research for the job that Peckman started to develop a curious pseudo-hobby: collecting images of celebrities at airports. “I was always intrigued by these types of pictures,” she tells Galerie. “I was drawn to funny photographs and ones where the person looked really great and was making a statement with their fashion.”

Soon, Peckman had accumulated hundreds of these striking scenes, which she would spread across her work station, providing conversation fodder for colleagues. “One day someone stopped by my desk and said it would be a great book,” she recalls. “I had thought the photos would be a cool exhibition at airport lounges or Ambassadors Clubs—a book wasn’t my original intent.”

In the end, however, Peckman did the reverse. “It was really hard to do an edit, but I put a bunch of images together and took it around to show people,” she says. Eventually, publisher Rizzoli picked up the project—but the COVID-19 pandemic soon halted production. “I thought surely it was the end of this book,” she says, especially considering the travel-centric subject matter. To Peckman’s surprise, however, she was one of the first authors that company called after the initial pause. “I was shocked,” she remembers. “It turned out to be the best timing, though, since things are picking up right now and people are nostalgic for travel and need something to look forward to.”

Paul and Linda McCartney, London Gatwick, 1971. Photo: Central Press/Getty Images

Out on April 27, the resulting book, Come Fly with Me: Flying in Style, is chock-a-block with striking images that evoke the bygone era of glamorous air travel. “Before this, civilians would get dressed up for an airplane,” she says. “I don’t think that holds true any more, and celebrities now fly private and aren’t really exposed to the public.”

Peckman’s methodical curating process also harkened back to the pre-digital age. “I printed out all the images and put them on the floor,” she explains with a laugh. “I edit based on instinct—some might have been picked for subject matter or what they said about the fashion of the time, and some were just really funny.” Another important ingredient was composition and graphic quality of the image. “It’s like a game of concentration,” she says. “I have a real instinct for sequencing for photos in books; after you first get going it becomes natural. I’m always shuffling things around.”

Prince, London Heathrow, 1989. Photo: David Parker / Alamy Stock Photo

Miley Cyrus, Sydney International, 2014. Photo: Splash

“I edit based on instinct. Some images might have been picked for subject matter or what they said about the fashion of the time—and some were just really funny.”

Jodi Peckman

Muhammad Ali, London Heathrow, 1967. Photo: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Among Peckman’s favorite images is a shot of Beatles superstar Paul McCartney with his family at London Gatwick. “That photo stands out in representing the ’70s era,” she says. “There’s also a great picture of Liza Minelli from late ’60s where she’s wearing a long sheepskin coat like my mom used to have. That photo is really nostalgic and reminiscent of that time for me.”

Other standouts include Whitney Houston, Erykah Badu, Justin Bieber, and Sia. “There’s also quite a beautiful image of Muhammad Ali wearing a white suit, and the way he’s walking when camera captures him is perfect,” she says. “I love that picture because it’s super graphic—the whole airport terminal is white and literally nobody in the frame.”

Naomi Campbell, Paris Le-Bourget, 1998. Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

The opening photo featuring Lady Gaga in a retro red-and-white ensemble is another highlight. “She looks like old flight attendant,” says Peckman. “It’s an amazing picture that was caught at just the right moment. I went through probably 20 images of her like that, and it goes to show that the most important thing in this whole process is pulling the right one.”

Cover: The Supremes, London Heathrow, 1965.
Photo: Evening Standard / Stringer


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