This 500+ page edition of the French fashion/art magazine Purple marks its 25th anniversary. Launched from Paris in 1992 by Elein Fleiss and Olivier Zahm (who remains editor), Purple was one of the first of the new generation of independent magazines. Along with Self Service (also from Paris) and, a little later, Berlin’s 032c it set the tone for so much that we see around us now.
Zahm’s editorial introduction makes several great points about the act of magazine-making. Opening with a description that will be familiar to anyone who has tried to launch a magazine (‘With no money, using a home compauter, a Macintosh 512K, we stayed up late at night, squatting a friends’s gallery to use the computers and printer…) he jumps forward to describe where his magazine sits in the context of today’s digital media, ‘Social media now generally satisfy the need for images, contacts and creativity’.
He points out that Purple is now a luxury item — the cost of producing it is so much more expensive than the social media against which they compete – before reminding us that Purple is made to last, ‘Every image, every single text,, the choice of paper, the layout, even the choice of typeface matters… everything matters’. This is manifest in the new issue: from the cover binding to the bespoke, raw, headline typography (above), Purple still relishes it magaziney-ness.
Over the 25 years Purple has transformed itself from curious outsider to become a central part of the fashion/art/culture nexus; its editors and contributors have adopted and adapted to become the new mainstream. This is the normal cycle, but it is refreshing to find Zahm still writing so passionately about the physical, and reminding us that his magazine stands against ‘digital amnesia’.
Design director: Gianni Porandi