Like many celebrities, Lady Gaga is good at making people talk about her. Unlike many celebrities, she’s good at making people talk about her at the right time. Exhibit A: The R-rated photoshoot she did for V Magazine. Behold the toned-down cover!
Now, this post could be about Gaga’s impressive weight loss, or how photographers Inez and Vinoodh captured Gaga’s raw intensity, or about how this whole photoshoot was a publicity stunt designed to promote Gaga’s new album, but it’s not about any of that.
It’s about V Magazine and how freaking awesome it looks.
Before I drool over it, some history about V Magazine. It’s an offshoot of Visionaire, a “multi-platform album of fashion and art produced in exclusive numbered limited editions,” whatever the hell that means. V Mag is edited by Stephen Gan and is primarily a women’s fashion magazine, and has only been published since 1999 – yet they continue to book huge celebrities for cover shoots, including Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, and our beloved Gaga.
The most compelling part of this magazine isn’t the content – sure, they get some huge interviews – but the majority of the mag is fashion photography. The most interesting part is the design. Each cover is graced with a giant V, which depending on the shoot, can vary in color and opacity.
It reminds me of GQ’s giant bold abbreviated logo, but the V is different. The shape of the vectors allows the subject to interact with the V, something Inez & Vinoodh obviously took into account. It’s not like other magazine flags, where the editors have to sacrifice the readability of the flag for the cover photo.
The V is completely visible each time. Look, for example, at this other cover of Lady Gaga:
Her body shape plays perfectly into the V.
But the shape isn’t the only part about the V that I like. The V itself suggests a feminine body part, something the art editors abuse with each cover, making V Mag a beacon of overt sexuality on the magazine rack. Plus, the magazine is tall, standing above it’s peers. It’s as if someone is holding the magazine and screaming “The women in our magazine have vaginas! And they’re attractive! And this magazine is attractive! Buy it!”
As far as design tactics go, I think this young magazine is doing everything right. If you haven’t picked up a copy of V yet, you should.