HEDI FIRST: While a divisive figure, Hedi Slimane is one of the biggest newsmakers in fashion right now. Getting the global exclusive on a cover for his first Celine collection, shot by Slimane himself, would be a boon for any publication. The one that made it happen, less than three weeks after Slimane’s debut Celine show, is Document Journal.
Slimane was given pure creative control over a cover — one of eight different covers — for the biannual publication’s 13th edition, which is on newsstands today. The day after the show in Paris, the designer photographed Hannah Motler in one of the collection’s many veiled cocktail hats for a close-up, black-and-white profile shot. It’s a stand-alone cover with no additional editorial, photographic or written content to accompany it inside the issue.
“Hedi’s been a longtime contributor to Document,” said Nick Vogelson, the publication’s editor in chief. “It’s something we’ve been discussing for a very long time to do his first cover and we were very fortunate to have him shoot it…Typically when we work with our contributors we give them a great deal of creativity in terms of what they want to execute so he had carte blanche for this.”
Such indulgent creative terms are what attracts Document Journal’s regular pool of top-tier contributors, which include Grace Coddington, Willy Vanderperre, Mario Sorrenti and Olivier Rizzo, to work for an independent magazine that hasn’t been around that long (seven years) and has, by Vogelson’s admission, “modest budgets.”
“It’s really about creative integrity,” he said. “We really strive to work with all the teams and contributors to execute their vision exactly as they see it from the concept to the casting to the layout to printing.” It seems to be working well. The latest issue is the biggest yet at 672 pages.
Document Journal follows a traditional advertising-driven model, yet its indie status affords it a lot of creative license. For example, the new issue includes a 26-page spread on Alaskan youth crusading against climate change. In addition to all work by high-profile contributors, the book also features the fruit of Document’s first New Vanguard Prize, a platform to scout new talent in emerging photography happening outside of the typical fashion and fine-art feeder schools and cities. The winner of the inaugural prize, sponsored by Calvin Klein, is Igor Pjörrt, a Brazilian photography student in Switzerland, who shot his first print editorial and cover for the issue.