Italian creative director Fabio Merche and stylist Elisa Silvestri see a future in fashion film even after digital fashion weeks return to more physical formats. Together, they launched a publication in February 2021 called VHF, the “first entirely moving publishing” experience, responding to the uptick of fashion films in recent years, a trend escalated by the pandemic.
The magazine lives purely online at vhfdigital.com, where moving images and animations autoplay amidst written content, and users are prompted to open links on their mobile phones to see an augmented reality effect in action. The site also hosts videos of recent runway shows from Comme des Garçons and Prada. About 80 percent of the luxury fashion depicted in its short films are shoppable through embedded links.
VHF’s second issue, technically “issue one” following the release of issue zero in February, launches Wednesday with advertising from Italian luxury label Sunnei, and focuses on the past and future of Italian design, with contributions from Blumarine creative director Nicola Brognano, photographer Luis Sanchis, stylist Natasha Voranger, and others.
Despite its digitally focused concept, VHF plays with the traditional magazine issue format, releasing quarterly “issues” of editorial content, branded content and advertising that allows users to check out “videotorials,” gifts and images presented in augmented reality, as well as written essays.
A “videotorial” from the debut issue, for example, featured model Mette Linturi walking through a CGI-created dystopian landscape wearing Christopher Kane and Prada, styled by Phoebe Arnold.
“It’s a very new medium,” said Merche, explaining that he and Silvestri wanted to launch a dynamic video-focused platform after working in print-focused independent publishing. “Our interest was very much more to have this 360 experience that could be translated on [augmented reality] and [virtual reality].”
VHF’s design has a retro aesthetic, and encourages readers to swipe and click various digital elements at any given time, as well as stream new video uploaded daily on “VHF TV.” Users also have the option to “save” the luxury pieces they see in the different videos in a digital wardrobe from which they link to the brand sites of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta and others for shopping.
Other brands and publications have invested in audio-visual formats recently, including Self Service and Bottega Veneta, responding to the ever-increasing need for distinctive, digital content and a shifting relationship between magazines and advertisers.