Fanfare: Aya Kanai
As the Fashion Director for Cosmopolitan magazine, Aya Kanai’s work reaches a modest 18 million readers every single month. And despite having fashion in the blood (her mom works for Issey Miyaki) her career really got off the ground when she joined a then-tiny crew at a newly launched Teen VOGUE. Since then, Aya’s brought her vision to Nylon magazine and built an impressive celebrity roster as a creative consultant and celebrity stylist before joining Cosmo. Her favorite part of the job is working with stars like Katy Perry, Lauren Conrad and Khloe Kardashian, to make each month’s cover image. Her aesthetic point of view is a lot like her personality – colorful, energetic, happy, and a little saucy – and we’re happy to see it makes its way into everything she does.
FIVE FIRSTS WITH AYA KANAI
The first designer piece you coveted:
Loafers from Tod’s. I went on a family vacation to Italy and that’s where I saw them. I still remember everything about those shoes.
The first time something beautiful wowed you:
I have always loved fashion, but I was first amazed by paintings by Caravaggio. Seeing his paintings was how I learned about the concept of chiaroscuro (the shift from light to darkness). When you see his work you experience that a painting can be so powerfully done that it makes you imagine what would be in the dark spaces.
The first time you knew you wanted to work in fashion:
I knew I wanted to work in fashion when I was an intern at New York Magazine in college.
The first time you thought, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this!”:
I think the first time I was really proud of my work as a stylist was when I styled the cover of Nylon with Michelle Williams. That was a serious career milestone and even years later I still love to see those photos in my portfolio.
The first thing you see when you wake up:
The quilt I made from fabrics I bought in Africa that I sleep under. Quilt making is my hobby and I love to have things I have crafted in my home.
Photography by Aaron Richter