Magazine covers in times of the Covid-19

Divided between the need to keep readers company and the need to convey this dramatic pandemic situation to them, every main country’s press has reorganised itself, thus proving their exceptional creativity and adaptability.

Publishing houses such as Hearst, Condé Nast, Mondadori, Dazed Media, have made efforts to reach and entertain readers and to offer the possibility to download online magazines for free, thereby reassuring the public with helpful information, countering the spread of fake news and trying to make the quarantine more pleasant.

Accustomed to dreaming and admiring the glossy pre-pandemic covers, we have had to suddenly become aware of the global change that is currently taking place.

Many editors have changed the contents of their newspapers at the last minute, highlighting these transformations with real pictures or striking images.

A space for the front-line heroes of the moment was created, as Vanity Fair Italy showed us on April 8th with the portrait of a pulmonologist on the cover, or the Grazia UK magazine that paid tribute to the National Health Service staff with 4 special edition covers.

These images are loaded with meaning, images such as the digital cover of Vanity Fair USA for March 26th, which shows a sanitation technician in a desolate Sicily or the one chosen for the Vogue Portugal April issue portraying the masked kiss of a couple. A protective device is also immortalised on the pop star Lena Temnikova on the front page of Glamour Russia and one is even ‘painted’ on the enigmatic face of the ‘Mona Lisa’, chosen for the online Italian edition cover of the Iranian fashion magazine ‘Prestige Magazine.’

The April issue of the maverick GQ Portugal featured the smiley face born as a symbol of positivity in the 1960s. The rebellious position of the magazine can be appreciated in the two lines of text located on the cover: ‘Everything’s gonna be alright’ and ‘F*ck off Covid-19.’ Director Santana wanted to send people a simple message while simultaneously cheering them up.

The poster in support of Italian companies is the work of the artist Francesco Vezzoli, and was created specifically for Vanity Fair Italy on April 8th. In homage to Lucio Fontana, Vezzoli portrays a tricolour canvas with a cut that represents both a wound and a way out. The work will be auctioned and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

There is a great influx of positive content and hope coming from the Elle newspapers of various countries: ‘Now more than ever, we need an escape route to dream, imagine and reflect’ are the words of Benedetta Poletti, director of Elle Spain, who speaks of the importance of small gestures of solidarity, of wanting to collect and publish them in order to comfort us and show us that we are doing better than we think. Someone sharing this view is Nicole Xue, director of Elle China, whose values in this period are humility, participation and common sense above all, so much so that she and her team launched a campaign – which all the editions of Elle in the world have joined- inviting personalities from the worlds of fashion, design, culture and entertainment to share their positive thoughts starting with the word ‘I believe….’ . The phrases have been published on social networks and online platforms. In addition, articles and practical guides have been created to improve the readers’ physical and mental state. The solution chosen by Elle Hong Kong is sharing news and practical lessons for defending ourselves from the virus, and Elle Turkey has chosen to prepare positive topics and motivational themes both for the printed issue and for social networks. The director of Elle Japan Kanako Sakai assures us that the commitment to create content that conveys the positive spirit of Elle is a daily and constant one, despite the difficulty of these extraordinary times which will change us forever.

For the May issues, the 6 magazines of the Condé Nast España group (Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, AD, Condé Nast Traveler, and Glamour) come together in a joint initiative to present ‘We dream together’, a message of hope in the light of a new world.
For the first time in 32 years, Vogue Spain comes out with an image instead of a photograph: a woman on a balcony who is overlooking memories, evoking their beauty, explains Natalia Gamero del Castillo (president and CEO), ‘a love letter to the world that reminds us of everything worth fighting for.’
GQ has published a photo taken at home by photographer Glen Luchford, who is preparing food with his son for the Los Angeles homeless: a message of solidarity, resilience and strength.
A very powerful thought by Emiliano Ponzi; the illustrator who designed ‘the embrace of absence’ for the cover of Vanity Fair, explains: ‘It is a person who embraces nothingness, but you can see that this nothingness has the shape of another person.’ In that gesture we can all see ourselves, together with our anxieties, but also with our longing to embrace again and the desire to love deeply, that no one will ever take away from us.

For the first time in the international history of the magazine, the cover of Vogue Italia is completely white. White like respect, rebirth, light after dark, the uniforms of those who saved our lives, as explained by the director Emanuele Farneti, who, in the page of his editorial, ensures: … ‘white means blank, it means it is a whole page yet to be written, the main page of a new story that is about to begin’.

And we, at VBBFW, like to think of white as the colour par excellence of a wedding dress, of lightness, of transformation. In dream language, it is in fact a symbol of passage from one stage of life to the next, of openness and the drive to achieve our deepest aspirations.

In times of the pandemic, the broken dreams of couples who have had to postpone their wedding are many, but the trade press has organised itself to inform, reassure, and help readers.
Noivas Portugal‘ – with the slogan ‘we are a click away’- gives free online access to the latest issue of the magazine as well as ‘I love Brides‘ and ‘Sposi Magazine‘, where it will be possible to find a step-by-step guide that helps couples manage the problems they face in the event of a postponed wedding.
Also available for free are the latest issues of ‘The Real Wedding‘ and ‘White Sposa.’ The May edition of the latter will be a publication dedicated to trends, fully downloadable online and purchasable on the e-commerce platform. On the other hand, the Winter Wedding section has been active since April 6 on social networks, and in it, the experts in the sector offer valuable suggestions for a winter ceremony for the bride and groom, via videos and interviews published on the site.
Elle Spose Collezioni – which will be released in a special September issue – largely dedicated to Made in Italy, is now closer to its readers since Thursday’s live Instagram post, thanks to the participation of designers, wedding planners, floral designers, etc.: a very useful tool to understanding the market situation and advising its audience. And to provide some entertainment, a Podcast on famous weddings is being prepared.
The whole press is putting together ideas, projects and stimuli in order to combine information, entertainment and encouragement so as to win this battle together.

By Elisa Nascimbene for Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week

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