How to use digital fashion on the magazine cover?
Date 06 May 2023
Virtual clothing and virtual generated photos — that’s how Vogue Taiwan sees future photo shootings.
Vogue Taiwan was the first to use entirely virtually generated pictures as a magazine cover (May issue). It is an abstract scenery, in which the model wearing a silver Chanel coat is driving a scooter, with a white alpaca on the backseat. The scene has never happened in real life; every element was modeled in graphic design programs and then set in this virtual scenery.
A digital experiment that goes down in history
In the traditional approach, the cover photo needs to be most intriguing, precisely chosen, usually from the photoshoot created for this specific issue of the magazine. It is preceded by careful build-up by creative team, stylists, scriptwriters (for some photo shootings there is real theatrical scenography involved). Then, the chosen photos are going into post-production and photo editing, neither of which shall interfere with the natural qualities of the original photo.
Vogue Taiwan, inspired by both lockdown restrictions and Gen Z (the generation that was first to grow in real and virtual life simultaneously), decided to experiment with this traditional process and create a 100% virtual-made cover. As it quickly turned out, the first full digital cover made the history of “pandemic” covers, amongst other iconic covers, like the white Vogue Italia cover.
Is virtual generated photo shooting going to be a new standard?
The Art Director of Vogue Taiwan points out that virtually generated photos are becoming a more and more popular solution, especially among the magazines that are looking for new, attractive visual forms. The big advantage of this technique is its great flexibility — having the creation based on virtual scenography and models eliminates the necessity of organizing the whole set and getting the creation from abroad (which became quite problematic during the lockdown). All those factors significantly decrease the cost of the photoshoot.
What is also worth noticing, the preparation for a virtual photo session does not decrease the number of people involved — still, just as with the traditional photo shoot, the photographer, model, stylist and director need to be engaged. In Vogue Taiwan’s cover case the model was replaced with an avatar that was based on the model’s silhouette and face features. The graphic design team created and modeled Chanel creations that were used in this photoshoot, too.
The scenography created by Vogue Taiwan is entirely virtual, full of abstract elements, as it is an effect of a creative team’s vision. Every element was meticulously stylized, according to directors’, photographers’ and stylists’ remarks. The whole creation was then combined into a short video spot, which presents the possibilities of 3D graphics even better:
Apart from the cover, created entirely in CGI technology (computer-generated imagery), the magazine also showed some photos that were exploring the traditional approach — the real female models, photographed on a green box, that were put into very realistic virtual scenery.
Computer-generated imagery adds a twist and widens the options in campaigns and fashion photoshoots presented in fashion magazines. When the set for a traditional photo shoot becomes unavailable, either due to pandemic, or budget cuts, a virtual “workaround” may come in handy.
Are others going to take the same direction? Yii Ooi, the stylist responsible for the May cover of Vogue Taiwan suggested that soon we can expect other virtually generated fashion sessions that they have been already working on.
Founder of nuenofashion.com and co-owner of Sparing Digital.