For much of the publishing industry working throughout Covid-19, it has proven impossible to escape the context in which magazines are being made. In fact, many titles are leaning into it as a focal point.
British Vogue is no exception. The magazine’s July issue centred on key workers on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, handing the prized cover spots to a train driver, midwife and shop assistant. While that issue put people front and centre, the latest issue, Reset, instead looks to nature. Across the 14 covers and accompanying photo story, artists such as David Hockney, Martin Parr, Alasdair McLellan and Nadine Ijewere spotlight natural scenes around the UK at a time where most people are pining for a return to the great outdoors, having spent the bulk of the last four months enclosed by the same four walls.
With photoshoots disrupted by lockdown rules (namely social distancing requirements and travel restrictions), the new issue features selfies from celebrities and British Vogue staff, a fashion shoot art directed by Nick Knight through Zoom, and a wealth of photography excavated from the British Vogue archives in place of new imagery. The latter approach took an ambitious turn in an unusual spread created with visual effects company Framestore.
Titled Back to the Future, the photo story revives celebrated fashion images dating back as far as 1947, originally taken by defining figures including Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, David Bailey and John Deakin. The difference of course is the outfits models are wearing. Here, the likes of Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and a young, doe-eyed Kate Moss – photographed by Corinne Day for her first British Vogue cover in 1993 – are all clad in new season collections.