The Room has gained increasing attention for its slick, distilled elegance, both in terms of art direction and its vision of fashion. The cover of the current issue offers us an example of exactly why. In short, it’s a bright and breezy take on florals, but with the clean modernist lines that are all part of the magazine’s visual identity.
Taking its cue from a similarly simplified approach to florals found in Stella McCartney’s current collection, The Room takes the flower motifs – the stuff that we usually associate with froufrou images of country cottages or over the top historic design- and introduces them to an angular composition drawing on pale colours that one could easily spot in the Bauhaus archives on colour theory. The impact is partly derived from what we intuit as a certain clash; the hubris of opposing aesthetic traditions. And that’s exactly what makes it such a powerful image. Although not specifically homage or a reference, it’s easy to see the visual relationship that this stunning cover has with Peter Saville’s seminal designs for a New Order album cover in the 1980’s.
Much as in Saville’s lauded design – so iconic that Raf Simons even introduced it into a collection- this striking cover of The Room derives a lot of its visual power from harnessing the frisson between different design philosophies that are now assimilated into our broader visual culture.
Of course, it the case of The Room’s cover for its thirteenth issue, a lot of the impact has to do with the beautiful Meghan Collison whose angular face forms the centrepiece of Márton Perlaki’s crisp, crystal-clear photography. Styled by Ali Tóth and Anikó Virág – the lead creatives behind The Room’s fashion editorial – it’s a suitably frill-free vision of contemporary fashion that manages to combine a kind of traditional feminine softness with pragmatic and elegant simplicity.
Interestingly enough, however, it feels in a somewhat in a different mode from its (assumedly) related shoot that unfolds within. The fashion story ‘It’s Only Superstition’, produced by the same trio of creatives as the cover, is the lead fashion story in this, the title’s thirteenth issue. Loosely connected to the overarching theme of this particular issue – The Room has made a timely decision to devote its thirteenth issue to superstition in its broadest forms – the story places model Meghan Collison into an eclectic range of settings and aesthetic styles – most of which are not that similar in style or feel to the cover image- to explore the topic in a whimsical and rather opaque way. If there is some hidden meaning secreted inside these images related to superstition – and one gets the feeling that there is – it’s all rather cryptic. Certainly don’t expect any linear narrative or illustrative approach to the concept.
On the face of it, most appear to simply be direct and well-executed –if somewhat enigmatic- fashion images of the stunning Ms Collison showcasing an equally eclectic selection of garments by the likes of Jil Sander, Levis, Dolce & Gabbana, Nina Ricci, Marni, Burberry, Gucci, Carven and a swathe of lesser-known emerging designers.
However, taken as a whole, this sprawling fashion story does share a certain tangential relationship to the cover with its plays on scale, juxtaposition of colour and monochrome and decorative versus reductionist aesthetics. Once again, The Room proves itself to be one of the most authoritative voices for high-end fashion in central Europe.