Italian Vogue Uses Paintings instead of Photos

Like it or not, the fashion system orbits around Vogue – the title that, with its opinions, shaped the aesthetic taste, defined fashion and built (or destroyed) the fortune of brands and designers, since it started. Now, times are changing and the innate tools of creativity that the publication developed through almost 130 years, and to this day, are constantly evolving trying to keep its groundbreaking impact alive. In their first new decade issue (January 2020), Vogue Italia decided to experiment a new language by making a U-turn and, despite the world of new technologies and turbo communication we are living in, edited the full issue using painters and illustrators. They refrained from the use of photography in order to avoid all the energy-consuming factors that are implied in the productions of editorials, saving money in the name of sustainability and supporting art. The funds retained have been donated to the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, which was heavily damaged by last November 2019 "acqua alta" (Italian for high tide floods). In the history of the renowned title, this is the first time there are no fashion editorials shoots and, in particular, for the Italian edition, it's the first time that a cover is not created by a well-known photographer. 


“I'm perfectly aware that this is just a starting point, but if you don't start you will never get to the point," explained Emanuele Farneti, Editor-In-Chief of Italian Vogue. “There was the pledge of the 26 international Vogue's Editors to act more to preserve and help the planet, so this was the Italian vision of this promise. In a way, I loved the idea of going back to the analogic imaginary of fashion. Slowing down and reflect about the speed of today's production of contents and products and if we really need all this. So even if this is still a one-off project, I felt that it's meaning it's very deep.” Next month the publication will go back to be the same format, with shooting and everything is needed to create the dream, but as they have the strength to turn the tide of the trends, this could hopefully be the beginning of something maverick. “We didn't plan another similar issue so far, but it is not for sure a drop in the ocean. It's a hint from where to start marking a path that could lead to the final goal to make Vogue Values real and not just an empty manifesto.” And we all expect this.


Today, the industry is so full of sustainable words and claims, but it lacks really strong acts. Often, these claims are used just as marketing tools, making them more irresponsible than a polluting process of production, as they mislead the honesty of people. So, as the planet cannot be saved in one month, the idea that the most relevant fashion magazine in the world took a risk and created these fashion fantasies almost at zero cost, sending emails instead of suitcases full of clothes through aeroplanes around the world, is praiseworthy and it should be a good wake-up call for the whole system. 


“The feedback has been incredibly enthusiastic and people received the message in a positive way,” explained Farneti. “This unexpected approach and this bold statement about creativity stimulated, even more, the curiosity of the readers. I wanted to have a variety of artists both established and newcomers from all around the world and this diversity created various messages, one for every single story.” This includes different media and different styles for 7 different covers. From the veteran erotic Italian comic book artist Milo Manara to worldwide famous Italian born Vanessa Beecroft and American David Salle, an authority in mixing different styles and texture. The one by the Japanese Yoshitaka Amano, the genius of fantasy illustration and mind behind the video game series “Final Fantasy”, has been the most virally acclaimed on social media. Cassi Namoda, from Mozambico, portrayed the model Ambar Cristal Zarzuela and the Parisian Delphine Desane interpreted the model Assa Baradji. The mixed art of Paolo Ventura illustrated the new model star Felice Nova Noordhoff and the inside story by Gigi Cavenago and Andrea De Dominicis, an Italian illustrator duo who created the cult comic Dylan Dog, have deified the female figure.

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