Vogue Czechoslovakia & Olga

(text: Silvia Haupt Kozonova, photo: Vogue)
Vogue, the fashion bible, that represents the presence of a strong society, economic growth as well as a stable and interesting fashion industry in a region, knowledgeable editors and the ability to attract a comprehensive audience. Is there space for such a magazine in the Czech and Slovak Republic? What will be the biggest challenges and what makes the first issue so daringly special?

Vogue Czechoslovakia has definitely been the most talked about topic of the last 3 months. The buzz started by its announcement via Business of Fashion, in early the March. This is probably the first time that any Czech or Slovak project would be interesting enough to catch the attention of this business focused medium.  Since then Czech and Slovak scene have been waiting for the day it could hold the first issue in their hands.
With every new idea or project, the industry’s reaction can vary. The whole 400 + pages magazine has unleashed a stormy discussion about the meaning of the cover which embodies the first lady of Czechoslovakia, a woman who didn’t need a spotlight in order for her personality to shine. Olga Havlová the first wife of the dissident, actor, and first president of CSR Václav Havel. The choice to portray Olga provoked a big social media discussion. For some people it was the biggest mistake because the newer generation doesn’t care about socialism and feels that certain things should be left in the past.

At Fashion MAP, we are welcoming this new approach by the Vogue team. We believe it was a courageous decision to select this bold cover photo, which was the work of the Slovakian photographer Braňo Šimončík. It would have been too easy and fairly meaningless to put any famous model in a local designer’s robes on the cover. Olga was not just an inspirational woman, but also a symbol for a new era of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to have your own identity, freedom to have of your own opinion; and ensuring that none of these freedoms would be dictated by any governmental ideologies. Freedoms that we take, more or less, for granted every day.

“Vogue is not just another magazine, it is a platform for young, strong woman who aspire to fulfill their own personal and professional potential,” said Michaela Seewald, the co-owner of the publishing house V24 Media, that stands strongly behind the magazine. “We wanted to create an original edition, not just a copy of any other Vogue magazine in the world. Not because we think the other countries are not doing a good job, but because we believe in Vogue. The Czech and Slovak Republics deserves their own identity,” added Andrea Běhunková, the Editor in Chief.

The magazine has been thoughtfully and intentionally crafted from its inception. Everything from having its own typography, designed by Jakub Straka, which was created to reflect Czech-Slovak typography from the 30s, to having articles in Czech and Slovak, to having 90% of its photographs being shot by analog cameras. This purposeful decision resulted in the huge arty editorial (more than 140 rolls of film), shot by world famous Slovakian photographer Michal Pudelka. Even the first press conference was staged in an original way. To help show the public the magazine’s progression, Vogue has chosen to have a month-long installation in Umělecko Průmyslové Museum, from 17.8-12.9. 2018 at Listopadu 2, Praha 1, which will guide you through the whole process and through almost every significant page, editorial, and story.

Vogue has definitely started a new era, not only in the Czech and Slovak print industry, but also by creating a base for a strong online platform that wants to attract a wider (and also younger) audience by its content and team of editors including for example also Tereza Hodanová, better known as a former YouTube star Teri Blitzen.

Will Vogue change the game? They have already challenged the print industry when it comes to advertising, editing, and cash flow. Many other fashion magazines will question their strategies because of Vogue! Some are already taking note of this pressure by replacing their editor in chief. We can see that the stagnant and predictable water that is the local media has suddenly been transformed into a lively ocean of ideas and possibilities. We feel rejuvenated by this refreshing, new breeze that comes with the tides of change and we cannot wait for what will come next!

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