Ignore the rainy season and dream that you are sweating by the sea rather than on the subway. Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, magazines . . . You probably already protect your skin with Clarins, shield your eyes with Gucci sunglasses, flaunt your bits in a Ralph Lauren bikini, but would you shell out over 22,000 yen for a magazine?
Well, 6,000 readers do.
Visionaire, the limited-edition fashion and art publication, flies out of bookstores despite its cover price.
The magazine, which was set up in 1991 by Stephen Gan (who previously worked on the men’s mag Details) enjoys a sort of elitist cult status among the fabulous fashion and artsy set. Dubbed the “nexus of fashion, art and popular culture,” its popularity is boosted by the fact that celebrities are apparently falling over themselves to contribute — usually for free.
Last December designers Stella McCartney and John Galliano and singer David Bowie pitched in with photos. Tom Ford (of Gucci) and Rei Kawakubo have both edited different issues.
The magazine, in which you get about as much to read as you would find in a Roppongi hostess’ apartment, is definitely weighted toward visuals. In fact, at last year’s launch of a cheaper, more word-oriented sister publication V, Gan admitted to reporters that “Text, as you know, is new to us.”
Each magazine is beautifully themed and put together, however, and comes with a gift. Don’t think that means a mere free sachet of shampoo or tacky diary. The Woman issue came complete with a silver powder compact, Kawakubo’s issues provided a Comme des Garcons dress and issue 26, titled Fantasy, offered a mask designed by Hermes.
Hermes has also collaborated on the most recent issue, appropriately titled “Where?” (in Greek mythology, Hermes is the messenger of the gods) “and the roads and travel.” Visionaire’s Jorge Garcia explains that Visionaire approached artists and fashion photographers “to depict a magical place, a faraway land, a geographical space of the imagination.”
The result is a gift described as a “writer’s traveling kit,” which includes 50 fantasy postcards in an Hermes leather case. The celebrity contributors this time include filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan and musician Michael Stipe.
If you are looking for something to flick though which you won’t mind getting covered in suntan oil, check out the newest addition to Tokyo’s plethora of freebie mags.
Alongside the listings magazines and the mad but fab music periodical Chain-Whipped, you can now find Savour. The April issue served up a feature on seven restaurants that offer “dishes that define Tokyo.” That set the tone for the following issues.
Features are lovingly illustrated and the magazine provides information in the right bite-size pieces you want from a freebie — interesting whether you are Japanese, a long-term foreign resident or have just landed at Narita.