Eliot Sumner Talks Love And “Stalker Songs”

Photographed by Francesca Jane Allen.

information age

On Eliot Sumner’s debut solo album, Information, there is a song called “I Followed You Home.” “I guess I never really knew/The lengths that I would go for you/Is it dangerous if I follow you back home?” the musician sings in a brooding alto. This might well be the most sinister stalker song since The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” and that’s not exactly a coincidence: Sting, that band’s vocalist, bassist, and principal songwriter, is Sumner’s father.

“I’ve always felt comfortable writing stalker songs,” says Sumner. “I like to write from a dark place. Happy songs, for me, are two-dimensional. Darker ones have greater depth.” Consequently, Sumner's love songs don’t sound like other people’s love songs: “The subject of love, for me, is all about obsession. It’s not about feeling happy and nice, it’s about feeling physically sick. I can’t do anything when I’m in love. It’s a terrible feeling.”

Click through the gallery to read the rest of our feature on Eliot Sumner from the December/January 2016 issue of NYLON.

Photographed by Francesa Jane Allen.

We are in Knightsbridge, one of London’s wealthiest neighborhoods, where Sumner spends at least half the year (the musician also lives in Brooklyn). Specifically, we are in Sumner's local pub, the Nag’s Head. “I write a lot of songs in here, especially after a few of these,” the singer says, holding up a pint.

The offspring of famous people—Sumner’s mother is the film producer Trudie Styler—often struggle to make their own mark in life, but Sumner, now 25, appears to have found a voice. Five years ago, the singer was making music under the name I Blame Coco. There was an album, but it didn’t sell well, and the very mention of it today causes a wince. “Oh,” Sumner says. “Um. I don’t like to dwell on that period too much, to be honest. I was too young, I didn’t know what I wanted. So I think I systematically sabotaged my career. I just wasn’t into it. I was unhappy.”

Sumner’s more upbeat these days, despite the appealingly moody and pensive aura. This could be due to the fact that Information is a terrific record, full of angular pop songs drenched in analog synthesizers and crisp melodies reminiscent of the 1980s. “Dead Arms & Dead Legs” is haunted by New Order; Annie Lennox could have sung “What Good Could Ever Come of This.” On “Let My Love Lie on Your Life,” Sumner sounds so much like Sting, it’s eerie. What knits everything together is Sumner’s perpetual frown, both literal and figurative. The musician does alienation very well, and not just in song. In the flesh, Sumner is shy and surly, with skin pale, and unbrushed hair. The artist finds fashion “terrifying” —despite having a model for a girlfriend (Sumner won’t tell me her name, but they’ve been together for two years)—and dresses only in black. Today the musician’s in a shapeless jumper, which peels back to reveal a faded black Kenny G shirt. “I fucking love this T-shirt,” Sumner says, beaming. “It’s so comfortable.” The musician's long johns, meanwhile, are not of the drugstore variety, but rather Boris Bidjan Saberi. They retail for $400 a pair (so maybe Sumner’s not that terrified of fashion).

Photographed by Francesca Jane Allen.

While growing up, Sumner struggled to govern moods and their unpredictable swings. The artist was less content at school than when roaming the family's woodland estate. “I’m just so happy to have music in my life now, because I can channel all those feelings into something positive and creative,” Sumner says. The artist has a lot of family support, “particularly from my mum,” but it’s abundantly clear that Sumner wants to assert a unique identity, and nobody else’s. In other words, the less said about Sting, the better.

“For me, music is an art. It should be real, and it should be true,” Sumner says and drains a pint with satisfaction. “Everything else is just bullshit, right?”

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council

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Photograph via @kimkardashian.


Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.


After delivered the perfect pep talk

When Lena Waithe took over as a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live, her first time ever as a late-night host, actress and friend Halle Berry knew exactly how to pump her up. After Kimmel's security guard Guillermo Rodriguez hit the "Berry Button" (a large button on the wall that says just that), Berry came running out in a backless tee and boyfriend jeans to give Waithe a pep talk... and plant one on her.

Berry rolled in as if she'd just jogged from hanging out with her friends to come to Waithe's immediate aid, joking she wasn't dressed for the occasion; but, let's be real, she could wear a paper bag, and we wouldn't complain. Waithe requested the "Halle Berry juice," similar to her 2002 Oscars speech, and Berry immediately had the lights turned down low and jumped into inspirational speech mode.

"I know that you are a force of nature. You are a beautiful African-American queen going after everything that is hers," Berry said before going on to list Waithe's many titles and accomplishments. She jokingly concluded, "And you already winning, girl, 'cause you are dressed way better than Jimmy ever will," before asking if Waithe needed anything else. Clearly, Waithe thought that was all Berry was there to do, because she said no, but Berry insisted she needed one more thing before grabbing Waithe's face and surprising her with a kiss. "Wow," Waithe reacted after Berry pulled away, and honestly same!

Watch the video, below.

Lena Waithe's Guest Host Monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live