The rest of a fashion magazine’s anatomy is more complex. Lockdown has meant that editors have been robbed of the opportunity to discuss headlines, image choices and layout with their teams in person – essential collaboration that contributes to making every page as captivating as possible. And it’s near-impossible to reflect on new trends and offer styling inspiration without the aid of pictures, not to mention the critical glossy celebrity cover that can make the difference between a bestselling issue and a lukewarm flop on the newsstand.
While photos of a product on a white background are fine for a shopping page and easily sourced from brands, it’s the editorials – the glamorous photoshoots featuring models in idyllic and often far-flung locations – that really bring fashion to life. Typically this kind of production involves a huge number of people, among them stylists, hair and makeup artists, photographers and a retinue of assistants and interns to help everything run smoothly and efficiently on the day. In a post-Covid world, it’s hard to imagine how makeup artists will create flawless dewy skin on a model, or how a stylist will tweak a garment mid-shoot just so.
But the editors of our most beloved titles have been imaginative in finding solutions that have allowed them to publish magazines that are not only beautiful and a joy to read, but also take into account the mood of the nation, addressing the impact of this pandemic in a sensitive way.
“The biggest challenge of the past few months is that our audience’s entire lives and behaviours have dramatically changed – and continue to change as the pandemic unfolds,” says Hattie Brett, editor-in-chief of Grazia magazine. “That meant we pretty much had to rip up everything we had pre-planned to create relevant content and be exceptionally nimble when creating new content.”
For Brett, this has required a complete re-think of what’s possible when it comes to a photoshoot, not to mention choosing a topic that will resonate with the reader. “The few shoots we’re doing at the moment are like none I’ve ever worked on,” she says. “We’re having new discussions about what’s necessary and appropriate to shoot, and how we do it safely for everyone involved. Our cover shoot – for an issue dedicated to the NHS – was shot in a matter of minutes in the car parks of hospitals, maintaining social distancing, before Dr Janitha Gowribalan, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, paramedic Sarah Blanchard and nurse Richenda Browne went back to their day jobs of saving lives.”