The Ten Most-Read AnOther Stories of 2021

Pin It
Zoë is wearing stylist's own cotton vest. Her own earringsPhotography by Collier Schorr, Styling by Avena Gallagher

From erotic asphyxiation illustrations and Hong Kong’s early 90s exploitation movies, to interviews with stars like Zoë Kravitz, looking back at our most popular features of the year

1. No One Can Resist the Allure of Zoë Kravitz proved a prophetic headline for the most read story on AnOther this year – certainly no one couldn’t resist finding out more about her. For the cover story of the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue, Lynette Nylander joined the cool kids’ cool kid in Brooklyn to talk Catwoman, her feature directorial debut, and recording a solo album about love and loss. “It’s so complex, that space, when you’re in between heartbroken and mourning the loss of something and excited for what’s ahead of you.” Head here to read more.

2. French artist and jewellery designer Lorette Colé Duprat’s work merges sex appeal with a utilitarian aesthetic – think part hardware store, part BDSM dungeon. Her multifunctional pieces are created by hand in her atelier and span from body harnesses and chokers woven together from metal ball bearings, to inserts formed from pieces of curved perspex that cleverly alter the way clothes can be worn. Head here to read more.

3. “Some people just have an aura, they stand out from the crowd,” says photographer David McLean about his encounter with Tupac following a 1996 Versace show. “I ran after him, and I got three shots.” The Scottish street photographer captured the musician just three months before his death and then kept the images hidden for decades. Dominique Sisley caught up with McLean as he finally broke open his archives and showed the pictures to the world. Head here to read more.

4. Scarlett Carlos Clarke’s multimedia show was a study of domestic anxiety, exploring the uncanny isolation – and blue-screen-bingeing boredom – of lockdown life. At the same time, it evoked the stifling intensity of new motherhood. “I started making this work in 2017 after my first son was born,” she told AnOther. “I’d been feeling a total loss of identity, which I think most new parents experience. Everything was so intensely focused on this tiny human.” Head here to read more.

5. Intensely vivid in their depictions of brutality, borderline pornographic and, on occasions, outright offensive by modern standards, Hong Kong’s early 90s Category III films remain the apex of east Asian extreme cinema. There’s nothing quite like the allure of controversy, however, and it feels like video nasties are all the rage again as several of the exploitation movies have been reissued. James Balmont guides the strong-stomached through some of the best. Head here to read more.

6. One of Japan’s best known fetish artists in the 1960s and 70s, Namio Harukawa was obsessed with scenes of erotic asphyxiation, wherein voluptuous women revel in the pleasures of facesitting and transform diminutive men into human furniture. In a world full of ’skinny Minnies,’ Harukawa celebrated the buttocks, paying tribute to women of Rubenesque form and depicting them as figures of beauty, desire, glamour and joy. A new book from Baron released this year brought together some of the artist’s most iconic works. Head here to read more.

7. “To create magic and illusion you have to be arrogant and have attitude – it’s just the way it is,” photographer Christopher Makos said about Halston. When Ryan Murphy’s new five-part Netflix biopic series about the designer’s life was released earlier this year, it was derided as inaccurate and fictionalised. To provide balance, AnOther spoke to Halston’s friends, colleagues and associates to provide insight into the character of a man who was larger than life. Head here to read more.

8. 50 years ago, Björn Andrésen was plucked from obscurity to star in Visconti’s Death in Venice and hailed “the most beautiful boy in the world”. What followed was rocketing fame that Andrésen never sought and is still grappling with the fallout from. “I was terrified,” he remembers in a new documentary The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, by Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri. “It felt like swarms of bats around me pretty much all the time.” Head here to read more.

9. “It’s like pornography,” Alessandro Michele explained to Alexander Fury about his latest Gucci collection in an interview for the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue. What he meant was that the results of his openly appropriating other styles, symbols and signifiers for his collection seem slightly illicit. His Balenciaga collaboration, for example, saw the designer filch Demna Gvasalia’s patterns and slap a Gucci label in them. “It’s illegal, but maybe we can start to change this word a little bit,” he said. Head here to read more.

10. The vibrant and deeply moving five-part series It’s A Sin opens in 1981 and tracks the Aids crisis through the eyes of a close-knit friendship group living in London. Creator Russell T Davies sat down with Nick Levine to discuss the series, how LGBTQ+ representation on screen has changed since Queer As Folk, and straight actors playing gay characters. “My take is to cast gay as gay. Absolutely. I believe that profoundly. I think you not only get authenticity; you get revenge for 100 years of straight-washing”. Head here to read more.