Take a look at your typical magazine stand and you’ll see a barrage of overtly photoshopped and awkwardly posed celebrities, trying to assert their importance under familiar mastheads like People, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and so on. The sorry state of print journalism in the internet era is an inevitable result of the rampant unoriginality in concept, writing and graphic layout that afflicts many storied publications. I struggle to find any discernible difference between the usual tabloid suspects like Us Weekly and Life & Style, but also between the more aspirational brands such as Gentleman’s Quarterly and Details.
Blatant similarities between these titles can be partially attributed to shared publishers and overlapping audiences, but considering the richness of variety among internet media outlets, the excuses for hackneyed content among popular magazines are rapidly vanishing. As old media titans struggle to stay relevant among younger demographics accustomed to free online content 24/7/365, it seems that we’re reaching an unmistakable tipping point in the balance of power between vaunted print institutions and their nimbler online foes.
Enter V Magazine. Launched in 1999 as a pedestrian offshoot of the uber-exclusive (and expensive) Visionaire, this large-format glossy is an unapologetic ode to the most beautiful and stylish among us, with a graphic design and photographic ethos to match. As many traditional magazines have been forced to surrender their product to an online format, struggling to find a profit in the process, V deliberately keeps its website outdated and lacking while saving the best content for the print edition. Although this business model is not unique to V, no other fashion magazine offers such a visceral print experience to compensate for their online version.
Delivered to subscribers in protective plastic (so you know it’s important!), V is not just a photographic feast of sexy people, but also a forum for informed commentary on matters of art, fashion, music, film and media in general. Every article and photo spread exudes superior quality and attention to detail, elevating the magazine from toss away fashion rag to artfully crafted quarterly that will attract readers to your bookshelf or coffee table for years to come. Although it has a host of overseas complements (Numero, i-D, Dazed & Confused, Arena Homme), New York-based V manages to hold its own ground and project a distinctly American lilt while featuring models and designers from all over the world.