New Order

FAUX REAL - Karen Bolilia (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2017 - 12:00am

The outdated rhetoric that print is dead is, well, dead. While it’s true that mainstream publications continue to fold, struggling to find new revenue streams and translating their voice to digital, independent magazines and books have become modern status symbols, its consumption a shorthand for acquired taste. And that’s the thing — who doesn’t have taste these days? Thousands of attractive yet repetitive feeds are as vanilla as can be; co-opted style lacking a point of view. At a time where churning out Instagram content is work, people like Angela Hill and David Owen of IDEA Books and Isabella Burley of Dazed stand out.

Their appointments to help jumpstart labels like Fiorucci and Helmut Lang (Hill and Owen, Burley respectively) are smart moves. Editors like them would know what to do with an extensive archive, and will give the brand the sense of continuity and “newness” it needs. But more importantly, both Fiorucci and Helmut Lang were iconic in its advertising, and have had a strong visual history that will fit in more than perfectly today. Fiorucci, an Italian label founded in 1967 and whose New York store became the “daytime Studio 54” in its heyday, will likely flourish under the team behind IDEA because of their tone: urgent, eager, yet with a casual finesse — “Get this now. Very rare. Simply the best. Super great book!” It is a suitable match for the fun-loving, gregarious spirit that the brand embodied.

Helmut Lang, on the other hand, was once irreverent, political, poetic and entrenched in art — but there can only be one Helmut Lang, and perhaps Burley, as editor-in-residence, knows that inviting a diverse team will strengthen the rebrand without making it too literal. Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air will be joining to create a capsule collection and Ava Nirui, an artist and designer who knows more than a thing or two about logo flipping, has announced her involvement as well.

Editors consulting for fashion brands is nothing new — it is pretty much a norm, in fact. Journalists and stylists constantly migrate and integrate into the communications and styling departments of fashion houses. On an even more commercial level, advertorials have been a longstanding editorial practice in magazines. But the public announcement of their involvement is a key change because, yet again, it disrupts the hierarchy of a fashion label. Once there was just the designer and his team. Then it has become the designer, the CEO, and their teams; and then it has morphed into creative directors as separate entities. Now, there are editors-in-residence, people who add directional value to the brand by re-contextualizing existing images. In a way, this is a natural evolution. People are now obsessed with image, and people like Hill, Owen and Burley know how to grow and sustain an audience. And more importantly, trigger a sale without the hard sell — a party trick that develops over time and with experience, not simply likes.

IDEA Books has been responsible for immediately sold-out books in collaboration with Vetements, Gucci and Alasdair McLellan. Dazed has continued to be a culturally important voice throughout the years. What they can bring is an on-the-pulse narrative with longevity. See now, buy now, and save for tomorrow —print informs the digital, and has made a life within it. What they have achieved, Instagram or not, is real influence.

Just the other day I merely sprinted towards Univers, which announced a sale of their introductory seasons, including Fiorucci. I walked into the store, quickly made a beeline for the T-shirts, and snapped up the most obnoxious print.


I guess you could say all that conditioning worked.

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