Vogue Italia Magazine The White Issue with Ferdinando Verderi

Vogue Italia – The White Issue

The Impression Catches up With Vogue Italia Creative Director Ferdinando Verderi on The Latest Issue Creatively Made at Home

The fashion lifestyle press – like all industries – is facing up to new realities, post Covid-19: but the depressing tale of suspended issues, furloughed staff and closures is countered by the proactive response seen by Vogue Italia (Italy, let’s not forget, is one of the worst-hit countries in the world). Available on newsstands – where they still exist – or as a downloadable edition, the April issue is a statement of intent from the cover onwards. The totally white cover is, as Editor in Chief Emanuele Farneti explains, first and foremost about respect.

‘White is rebirth, light after the darkness, the sum of all the colors. White is the uniforms of those who have saved lives while risking their own. It’s time and space for thinking. And for staying silent too. White is for people who are filling this time and space with ideas, thoughts, stories, verses, music and kindness to others. It’s a reminder that after the crisis in 1929*, clothes turned white, a color chosen to express purity in the present and hope for the future. And above all, white is not surrender; it’s a blank page to be filled, the frontispiece of a new story about to begin.’

Far from surrender, Vogue Italia’s response to this new crisis is inspirational. Faced with the fact that all the actors involved in the production of the magazine – models, stylists, photographers et al – were necessarily in isolation, they determined to create an issue that made a virtue of the restrictions and parameters imposed by the current situation. 

If the mountain can’t come to Mohammed – or indeed, the photographer can’t come to Bella Hadid – then why not let the ‘Work From Home’ technology that we are all embracing in this New Normal take the lead?

Hence Bella’s FaceTime collaboration with Brianna Capozzi – or Max Permain, Laura Nash and Tyrone Lebon combining to create a Joseph Beuys-style collage. Each page is an exercise of creativity over constraint – from the subtle (witness Paulo Ventura’s juxtaposition of 19th Century military illustrations and Dior accessories) to the bold (Petra Collins’ in your face celebration of female sexuality) and the humorous (Sebastian Faena’s tinned produce as luxury goods). 

But regardless of the highest-of-profile contributors, (add Josh Ollins, Willy Vanderperre, David Sims, Steven Klein, Mert & Marcus, Ryan McGinley, Collier Schorr et al), Creative Director Ferdinando Verderi insisted on leaving the cover blank.

Vogue Italia Magazine The White Issue with Ferdinando Verderi

In times like this, we felt that a silent cover would speak louder than any word or image,’ he says. It’s a universal message of purity, strength, respect, and hope. Yet behind the silence of this cover, a very lively and personal issue of Vogue Italia comes to life.

– Ferdinando Verderi, Creative Director Italian Vogue

With over 40 artists and contributors helping to produce an issue from the confines of their own homes, the April issue of Italia Vogue is a testament to how creativity can triumph over circumstance.

‘We personally asked each artist to “stay true to the constraints that we are all sharing in these difficult times, creating simple, honest images”, and to depict fashion “in a way that most reflects their personal moment, with nothing else in mind.” It’s fair to say that the resulting images depict the widest range of emotions that, seen together, create a long-distance community effort that becomes an important visual document of the times we are living,’ adds Verderi. ‘Ultimately, it’s an expression of what Emanuele and I believe Vogue Italia should aim to do: talking about the world through fashion.’

*The 1929 Great Depression that deeply affected Italy

Portrait | Mark Seliger for The Impression 250