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Vogue Italia’s White Cover Turned Into Art Project

FROM WHITE TO ART: Vogue Italia April 2020 issue’s standout white cover was turned into an art project, to be celebrated in this month’s edition of the glossy magazine.

At the time, the totally white cover — the first in the publication’s history — intended to represent a sign of respect, rebirth and hope as a reaction to the pandemic. When it hit newsstands last spring, independent art curator Valentina Ciarallo bought dozens of copies of the magazine and successively invited a group of Italian artists to use it as a canvas to express their creativity.

“When I saw the all-white cover, which was so symbolic yet open to the imagination, I was spellbound. The idea was already there,” explained Ciarallo.

Vogue Italia decided to celebrate her initiative and the 49 artworks with a dedicated story included in its upcoming issue, hitting newsstands on March 6.

“I wanted to give hope in [a moment] of pain, because light always hides behind stormy clouds: all it takes is to know how to imagine it,” said Ciarallo, who dedicated the project to her 17-year-old son, who is passionate about fashion.

Artists involved in the initiative included established names, such as Mario Airò, Stefano Arienti, Manfredi Beninati and Flavio Favelli, as well as young talents, including Giulia Andreani, Guglielmo Castelli and Bea Bonafini.

They all worked with different techniques, including sketching, painting, embroidering and engraving. Among the most interesting efforts, artist Vedovamazzei turned the magazine in a sculpture by securing it with a lock; Davide Monaldi replicated it in a ceramic version; Flavio Favelli pierced it with a bullet while Donato Piccolo customized it with an AI software projecting symbols on the cover.

Flanking the article, a column penned by Italy’s leading art critic Francesco Bonami analyzes the pieces, underscoring that “there isn’t a more difficult moment for an artist than when he finds himself in front of a white space.”

The cover and fashion shoots will be also dedicated to models who possess additional creative talent, encompassing painting, writing, acting and photographing.

For instance, the issue will mark Danish top model Freja Beha Erichsen‘s debut as a photographer with a series of self-portraits she exclusively shot for the publication. Other models will include Saskia de Brauw, Binx Walton, Lily Aldridge, Dilone, Lulu Tenney, Tao Okamoto, Julia Nobis, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Toni Smith, Jessie Li, Soo Joo Park, Benzo and Sasha Pivovarova, among others.

Overall, Vogue Italia’s March issue will be dedicated to creativity expressed under many forms, which is a theme that all 27 editions of the magazine will share this month. Incidentally, this is the second time the title opts for a common, global editorial approach, after last year all editions agreed upon the single theme of “Hope” for their September issue. As reported, at the time Vogue Italia specifically tapped 100 personalities of different ages, ethnicities and lifestyles and hailing from different industries, telegraphing a message of diversity and inclusivity.

“For us at Vogue Italia, creativity means building projects where fashion — with its power to speak to a boundless audience — is the means rather than the end,” wrote editor in chief Emanuele Farneti in his editorial. “These projects make sense insofar as they convey meaning, and if possible offer a small but tangible contribution to shaping a fairer, more sustainable and genuinely inclusive society. Since we strive to do this every month, and every day on our digital channels, this time we’ve decided to focus on, and give due credit to, creativity that is not our own, but of the magazine’s friends and collaborators.”

Hence, the issue will be filled with contributions by artists who had most frequently worked with Vogue Italia during the past months, including Falk Gernegross, Delphine Desane, Tschabalala Self, Cassi Namoda, Paolo Ventura, Andrea Rossi, Vanessa Beecroft and Allison Zuckerman.

Sandra Salibian

WWD, March 4, 2021