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The intense global shift of COVID-19 is like nothing many of us have ever encountered in our life times, it has caused an incredible shock to our system with its spread of rampant & unforgiving disease. But with its swell of devastation & loss of life, there is also a glimmer of change & hope. Whilst we all pray for a return to some sort of normalcy, we hope that on the horizon COVID-19 brings about some much needed winds of change. This pandemic has highlighted the intricately complex & delicate nature of human connection; reminding us of the very mosaic we exist in as a global community. As we all endure the trials & tribulations of COVID-19, some worse than others, we are slowly realising what truly matters; supporting our loved ones, our neighbours, our key workers.VOGUE has always been a staple of my life, my kitchen table is never without a copy, my bedside table has a stack of read but beloved issues. When thiking about Vogue’s history, one can’t help but be impressed by its stoic resilience.
The first American VOGUE issue was published in 1892 in the US, and British VOGUE arrived in 1916, it never ceases to amaze me when I see how many years its continued to produce high quality creative journalism. 127 years of reporting on arts, fashion, culture & beauty. Incredible. 127 years of reporting on arts, fashion, culture & beauty. Incredible. And over those 127 years, Vogue has seen world wars, depressions, terrorist attacks and so forth. In the DEC 1999 issue, the special millennium issue, British Vogue’s then art director Robin Derrick who designed the minimalist cover said at the time,
“Vogue has always been more than a magazine: it’s a history, a way of life, a state of mind. These are the people, the places, the clothes, the ideas, that have formed it throughout the century”
And we couldn’t agree more, VOGUE has never shied away from confronting cultural shifts, whether good or bad, and continues to be a beacon of creative expression, even in times of global crisis.
VOGUE in the time of CORONA
We’ve all seen the various Vogue covers that have been circulating on social media, each one relating in one way or another to COVID-19. I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on a few that caught my eye.; in both their design and intention. Each one a reminder that pure and simply, We’re in this
VOGUE PORTUGAL : “Freedom on hold. Covid-19, fear will not stop us”
An incredible black & white image appears on theApril cover of VOGUE PORTUGAL, a man and a women donning white medical masks lean in to kiss each other. It is an insanely powerful image.
Starkly focusing on the power of human connection, and isn’t that what COVID-19 is all about? The intense power of human connection, the realisation that whether we are 2 metres apart or 20,000 miles apart, we are connected. VOGUE Portugal posted the cover on their Instagram stating,
“An image isn’t just worth more than a thousand words. It’s worth as a historical document as well. And 2020’s freedom will be recognizable like this: In confinement”
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As a true Vogue collector (I cherish every cover I love) VOGUE PORTUGAL has it right, each cover presents a moment in history, and the April 2020 cover will no doubt go down as perhaps the most historical cover of all. A powerful image depicting the strain on relationships across the world this Virus has caused, whether its the pulling apart of families or the halting of romance.
VOGUE ITALIA: “Above all: white is not surrender, but a blank sheet waiting to be written, the page of a new story that is about to begin”
The VOGUE ITALIA cover is perhaps the most talked about cover this year, all imagery from the pre-planned cover was scrapped last minute and instead is left blank, left white. Editor in Chief, Emanuele Farneti spoke out, explaining that their April issue had been planned with L’Uomo Vogue on a Twin Project. But VOGUE ITALIA could not consciously publish it, their feelings of guilt towards those in the front line was too strong, and Farneti expresses that Vogue has never looked the other way in times of Crisis “is not the DNA of Vogue Italia” They created this new white cover, as a strong symbol of the crisis we are facing, and as we know Italy has been hit particularly hard.
Part of their message to accompany the cover, “The decision to print a completely white cover for the first time in our history is not because there was any lack of images – quite the opposite. We chose it because white signifies many things at the same time. White is first of all respect.
White is the colour of the uniforms worn by those who put their own lives on the line to save ours. It represents space and time to think, as well as to stay silent.
White is for those who are filling this empty time and space with ideas, thoughts, stories, lines of verse, music and care for others.”
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And however beautifully written this may be, it has not come without controversy. Thousands of Instagram comments flooded beneath the image. The main one being the use of white, and the connotation it has within discussions surrounding racism.
VOGUE GREECE: “Love will keep us safe”
The VOGUE GREECE April 2020 issue has three covers, each one presenting love as the ‘protagonist’ - A story of love in quarantine, whether that be the love shared between lovers, a parent and a child or self love for those who are alone. Their delicate and intimate covers are snap shots of private love, from home, captioned with the reminder that
“love and intimacy will always be part of our normality”
A beautiful sentiment that focuses on what matters most, the love between us all, the love that connects us all one way or the other.
All three VOGUE covers are lanterns of love, light & hope in this storm of unknown darkness that we find ourselves in. We praise VOGUE for not turning a blind eye when it is so easy to, we applaud their bravery in talking about subjects that are uncomfortable. 127 years later and VOGUE continues to lead the way in our creative culture, sure, they don’t always get it right, but when they do, it’s something that will last a lifetime.
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