V Magazine started in 1999. Originally meant as a more accessible bimonthly sister title to the famed limited edition Visionaire, set up at the beginning of the 1990s by Stephen Gan, James Kaliardos and Cecilia Dean, it has, in many ways, eclipsed their original project, at least in terms of visibility and popularity. Visionaire might remain a much sought after couture object of desire for the fashion elite, but V Magazine has grown into one of the key American titles of the last two decades.
Headed up by Stephen Gan, the core team of individuals running the title have a long history of collaboration which probably accounts for the strong and unique identity that the magazine brings to its mix of fashion, celebrity and current culture. Central to this identity is a bold art direction that brought the same kind of individual sensibility to the American magazine publishing arena for which European titles had been much lauded. In effect, V Magazine’s success could be seen to be a result of defiantly offering a stylish alternative to the prevalent US publishing formats whilst simultaneously having a strongly American identity. Despite the magazine’s international outlook, it would be foolhardy, for example, to deny the deep connection between the identity of V and New York City. If NYC endures as the epicentre of the American fashion scene, then V Magazine is one of the key titles that both defines and responds to that scene, which has made it an important title not only at home, but also internationally.
Much like NYC, V is bold, colourful, confident and fast-paced. Noted for its work with top photographers and stylists, V Magazine is one of those titles that had a rapid ascent and managed to stay at the top, making it one of only a handful of titles that has celebrities and top talent practically clambering over each other to get involved. As a result, in V Magazine one can always expect to find the famous and the great side-by-side with the title’s ongoing commitment to showcasing hot new talent.
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