Vogue Italia celebrates the importance of words with never-before-published stories from two Nobel and two Pulitzer Prize winners
Milan, 28 August 2019 – The September issue of Vogue Italia entitled ‘Words Matter’, due to hit newsstands on 28 August, is dedicated to the importance of words. This is the first time that a publication traditionally linked to fashion, image and photography has chosen such a current topic to address.
“Words matter. They’ve always mattered,” explains Emanuele Farneti, editor of Vogue Italia in his editorial, “but they count now more than ever at a point in time when, on the one hand, our vocabulary is shrinking at an alarming rate, and on the other, they are increasingly taken hostage, emptied of meaning, used as weapons, twisted and contorted to serve small, petty, short-sighted interests”.
As such, words become the beating heart of this issue, which includes unpublished works from two Nobel Prize winners, Al Gore and Nadia Murad, who won it in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and two Pulitzer Prizes winners, namely Michael Cunningham and Richard Powers, the former awarded the prize in 1999 for “The Hours”, the latter in 2019 for “The Overstory”.
“It is up to all of us to ensure that the words that currently characterise the conversation in this industry, such as diversity, inclusivity and sustainability, are not robbed of meaning, becoming cute little clichés used to sell one more t-shirt, one more copy”, continues Farneti. “We believe that it is right to challenge these words, question them, open a discussion to ensure that, at the end of the process, they come out stronger for it”.
That is why a number of international figures were asked to “save” a word that they care about deeply. Actress Angelina Jolie chose “Freedom”; primatologist Jane Goodall, named UN Messenger of Peace, and one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019, chose to save the word “Hope”; writer Stefania Auci, author of the bestseller “The Lions of Sicily”, gave the word “Family”, whilst the most influential environmentalist in America, according to the Boston Globe, Bill McKibben, chose the word “Snow”.
The cover, for the first time in the history of Vogue Italia, is the result of a collaboration between a writer and famous fashion photographers. Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham wrote two short stories inspired by the photography of Paolo Roversi and Mert & Marcus, the words of which have become an integral part of the cover itself.
“We wanted to see how and if it was possible for two different points of view to coexist on the cover of Vogue Italia, and to make them complementary”, explains Farneti. “Cunningham wrote about roses and dreams, about the earth and the sky. We like to see it as a kind of dance, in which words become image, and image words”.