'A message of strength and hope': 'Vogue Italia' publishes blank cover for the first time ever in response to pandemic

The fashion magazine says it scrapped its planned April cover in a show of solidarity with those fighting Covid-19 on the frontlines

The Italian edition of 'Vogue' unveiled a completely white cover this week, as a message of 'purity, strength, respect and hope'. Vogue Italia / Instagram
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It is usually a page emblazoned with high-fashion couture, or featuring the face of one of the world's in-demand models or actresses.

But this month, Vogue Italia's front cover is a blank.

It is not because the Italian fashion magazine was unable to find content to fill its prized pages, but because the publication wanted to convey a strong message of solidarity with those battling the coronavirus on the frontlines.

"Just under two weeks ago, we were about to print an issue that we had been planning for some time, and which also involved L'Uomo Vogue in a twin project," the magazine revealed on its social media platforms on Tuesday.

"But to speak of anything else – while people are dying, doctors and nurses are risking their lives and the world is changing forever – is not the DNA of Vogue Italia. Accordingly, we shelved our project and started from scratch."

The message was represented by a completely white cover, bare except for the magazine's logo and the month of issue, April 2020.

The magazine, the Italian edition of the fashion and lifestyle publication first launched in New York in 1892, said it was the first time the cover was blank in its history.

"We chose it [colour] because white signifies many things at the same time," said the Instagram post, signed off by editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti. "White is first of all respect. White is rebirth, the light after darkness, the sum of all colours. White is the colour of the uniforms worn by those who put their own lives on the line to save ours. It represents space and time to think, as well as to stay silent."

Most importantly, Vogue Italia said: "White is not surrender, but a blank sheet waiting to be written, the title page of a new story that is about to begin".

Italy has been severely hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with more than 139,000 confirmed cases of infection, more than 17,600 deaths and 26,491 recoveries as of Thursday, according to data tracked by John Hopkins University.

The move was applauded by fans and peers on social media, with many commending the magazine for its moving response.

"The silence is loud and indeed so profound," creative director and photographer Trevor Stuurman posted on Twitter.

"I think this is such an elegant, moving way to approach making a magazine in these times," tweeted Tyler McCall, editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com.

Vogue Italia creative director Ferdinando Verderi said he hoped the "silent cover would speak louder than any word or image".

"It’s a universal message of purity, strength, respect, and hope."

The April issue of the magazine – which is free to download at Vogue Italia's website – includes features from models Bella and Gigi Hadid, Lindsey Wixson and Petra Collins, who shot pictures at their homes. The issue also features exclusive sketches  from designers such as Donatella Versace, Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Stella McCartney.