In a field of somewhat subdued September issues, V Magazine’s seasonal statement is one of the few that stands out with the razzle-dazzle that even those who are only mildly interested in fashion crave at this time of year. NYC, as we all know, was already the capital of glitz when certain other US cities that shall remain nameless were mere rural outposts.
The experience starts with the two covers. Shot by Mario Testino in an amusing take on the glamour within, they feature Lady Gaga with Marc Jacobs and Marina Abramovic with Tyson Ballou. Lady Gaga does Lady Liberty in a shopping trolley whilst a stony Marc Jacobs is the perfect balance; a figurehead for the makeshift vessel. Marina Abramovic, for once fully clothed, enters into the spirit of things, almost parodying her own provocative performance works with Tyson Ballou cast as a martyr in this pieta.
In keeping with V’s, showstopper of an issue, two top contemporary art talents have been drafted in to put the finishing touches to each: Dan Colen and Aaron Young provide the artistic renditions of the signature ‘V’. World-renowned art, celebrity, music, fashion and photography; the best that NYC offers today, are all encapsulated into these two powerful images.
They are, of course, also a taster of the feature ‘New York!’ inside. For this feature – a kind of combination fashion story and portrait essay- Mario Testino offers us an image of the city’s talent of the moment. In a style that is somewhat different from what we have come to associate with the renowned photographer – and all the more refreshing for it. Mr Testino captures an image of New York’s actors, artists, designers and generally hip characters about town; the people who have become synonymous with the city’s creative cultures. From the elder stateswoman of hip, Debbie Harry to edgy DJ promoter Aris Schwabe; hotelier André Balazs to NYC’s newest hope of retaining the worldwide heavyweight pop empress title, Lady Gaga. It’s a feature that could be read as a concentrated visual version of the ode to the city that is elaborated throughout this, the New York issue.
Furthermore, now that the film industry has gone to the trouble of making a film that underscores the importance of ‘the September issue’ for international fashion for a mainstream audience, it’s good to see that someone has not let down the public at large. On the whole, seasonal issues of fashion magazines have presented a rather restrained opening to the fashion calendar. V magazine, by contrast, offers covers that present the broadest public with something that is fun, accessible and gives back a bit of that expectation of glamour that the fashion industry is so often accused of creating.