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all photos by kristin vicari; styled by richard sloan

read our interview with lily allen here.

Lily Allen arrvied no more than an hour late, and slinks through the side door of this East London photo studio, tiny as an elf, all hazel eyes and nervous giggle.

The makeup artist, she is told, will see her now, and so she quickly removes her top to reveal an orange cotton bra, and then disappears inside an old gray T-shirt that could comfortably sleep four. As she sits, somebody brings her frothy coffee, but this will prove difficult to drink when she has people buzzing around her, one of them gluing hair extensions to the back of her head, the other filing her fingernails into vampiric talons. And then somebody switches on the hair dryer.

But as she sings on the title track of her new album, Sheezus: “Been here before/ So I’m prepared.” In other words: Allen is a pop star, and this sort of rigmarole comes with the territory.

She’s certainly kept herself busy during her four-year hiatus: marriage (one), children (two), and the purchase of a nice big house in the country. She never did retire back in 2010, despite claims to the contrary, but instead sought out something she’d never had before: a quiet life, and a comparatively normal one. She loved it, she says now, but she also felt “exasperated” by the pressures of motherhood and, reasonably enough, “I found I wanted to do something for myself again.”

What she’s done is Sheezus, which ably confirms that the 28-year-old arch provocateur has as much to say as she ever has, and still knows just how to say it. “There is an element of, Yay, people are still writing about me,” she says in reference to her return to public life (it is difficult to convey just how much of a cultural icon she is within British pop’s firmament), “but also of, Oh fuck you—how could you get me so wrong?

Her comeback has already generated plenty of column inches across the Atlantic. First, shortly before Christmas, she elected to rework Keane’s dulcet “Somewhere Only We Know” in a television ad for a department store, an act which sparked speculation that she might have gone soft in the aftermath of motherhood. But then she followed it up with “Hard Out Here,” an upfront feminist manifesto that features the word “bitch” 72 times.

And now comes Sheezus, which is both sweet and snarky, full of glistening pop songs that brim with deadpan irony, searing honesty, and withering put-downs. “I don’t give a fuck about your Instagram/ About your lovely house or your ugly kids,” she sings in “Insincerely Yours,” while “L8 CMMR” proclaims her love for her husband Sam Cooper by calling him a “bad motherfucker.” The title track, meanwhile, name-checks Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Lorde.

“Yes, but I only mention all those people because I see them at the forefront of the music industry, and I’m not at the forefront myself,” she says. This might come as a surprise admission from someone whose first two albums, Alright, Still (2005) and It’s Not Me, It’s You (2009), both sold millions of copies and led to fervent declarations that she was the voice of her generation. But Allen shrugs off such accolades. “If my self-belief was driven by something as simple as my achievements, I suppose I’d be really confident, wouldn’t I? But I’m not.”

"I try not to censor myself, because I don't think I'm a bad person, and most of what I say is sound, or at least well-intentioned."

She nevertheless exerts a strong grip over her career in an industry where pop stars so often struggle to control their own fates. “It works in the record company’s interest to have people who don’t really have brains sell products for them because, that way, they can’t figure out when they are fucking them over.” No wonder she takes a forensic interest in her marketing and the album tracks that are chosen for singles. She also pays precise attention to how she comes across in print.

“I try not to censor myself, because I don’t think I’m a bad person, and most of what I say is sound, or at least well-intentioned,” she reasons. “When I do an interview, I find I can ascertain quite quickly whether they have good intentions, or whether they are simply coming with an agenda and trying to find the next headline. Even if they think they are being really clever with me, I tend to know [their motives]. And when I spot them, I just shut into lockdown.” Not a little warily, then, I ask how I am doing. Her laugh is infectious, and quite possibly mocking. “Good,” she says. “So far.”

One of eight children of the reliably hell-raising British character actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, Allen’s adolescence can easily be described with the kind of two- word tabloid headline she so loathes: wild child. This was prompted, she suggests, by a troubled relationship with her father, among other things. “At 16, I started to act out,” she says. “I had some really horrible things happen to me in relationships, and I didn’t have an anchor, a support network. I was lost.”

Finding fame at the tender age of 19 was not exactly a road map for stability, and she ended up pursuing a life that, if nothing else, looked great in the tabloids: sex, drugs, endless controversy, stints in rehab. By 2008, she was dating a man twice her age, Ed Simons of The Chemical Brothers, and during their relationship she suffered a well-publicized miscarriage. A year later, she realized that Cooper, a decorator and builder whom she had known for a decade, was in fact the man of her dreams. After another miscarriage, the couple now has two young daughters, Ethel and Marnie.

“Sam was the first person in my life to make me go, ‘Stop. Is everything OK? Good, proceed.’” Allen laughs self-consciously, a hand covering her mouth. “Before that, I was always in the fast lane, always consume, consume, consume, and only consider later.”

But she didn’t adapt to domestic bliss overnight. “No! At first I suppose I tried to destroy it,” she recalls. Why, exactly? “Oh, you know, Just my usual self-destructive behavior.”

She recalls a pivotal conversation she had with her future husband after returning from a trip to Japan. “I’d had a crazy rock ’n’ roll time there, [and there were] pictures of me in the paper flirting with other people, just being an idiot, really. When I got back, he was like, ‘Look, this is a really great relationship, and I want to make a go of it, but I can’t with someone who behaves like this.’ Basically, he was asking me to sort myself out. I told him I would, but only if he was there to look after me.”

She giggles again, but more than anything just looks relieved. “And he was; he is. And I’m glad. I’m happy.”

jacket by ashish, dress by marc by marc jacobs, earrings by boucheron.
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.

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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.

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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 www.youtube.com

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Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

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.

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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 youtu.be

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