Once upon a time, print was a mass media so common it was relegated to the recycle pile. It could be found everywhere from bathroom floors to crumpled up sheets used as packing materials. Paper was disposable and therefore cheap, earning the status of a first year anniversary gift, reminding you how far you have to go to make gold.
But in the years since digital revolutionized the world, print has undergone a metamorphosis. While naysayers once threatened, “Print is Dead!” the world of print media turned on its head. Some simply could not compete with the instant gratification of the Internet, and found themselves desperately downsized, if not outright disappeared. But others decided not to compete. They understood print was its own medium, offering certain distinct advantages that digital could never touch—literally.
Oona Chanel, great-grand niece of Coco herself, has learned the fashion industry from the inside out, working as a model, consultant, and entrepreneur. To this list of credits, she can now add Editor-in-Chief of AUTHOR, a new biannual book series published by Thames & Hudson.
AUTHOR is unlike anything the print media has seen, with gilded pages ensconced inside black linen cover with a tip on photograph featuring one of four of the top models in the industry today: Chiharu Okunugi, Katlin Aas, Aymeline Valade, and Ajak Deng. Crack it open and you will discover a new world of luxury publishing that creates a seamless journey through fashion, photography, and art.
AUTHOR No. 1 features contributions by master photographers Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama, never-before-seen Polaroids by Steven Sebring, interviews with film legend Sophia Loren, artist and activist Ai Weiwei, DSquared founders Dean and Dan Caten, and an essay by Harvard Business School lecturer Pauline Brown that speaks to the need for self-expression at a time when Big Data lead firms are dehumanizing their customers in an attempt to gain market share.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Chanel has an intuitive understanding for the desires we possess and the way in which the printed object mediates and satisfies us. She writes, “I’m sure you can remember a time when you actually read all the articles inside your favorite publication and were inspired by the incredible pictures that were beautiful enough to hand on your walls?”
“Oh, did you not love that time? I truly did! Remember the joy of picking u a freshly printed magazine? Ah, the smell of the fresh print with the excitement of the upcoming season of fashion with beautifully crafted clothes, amazing photographers shooting breathtaking images of the collections and each one of them telling stories of gorgeous garments,” she continues, evoking a wave of nostalgia for a time not that long ago but so very far away, reminding us of the secret joys and private pleasures of the printed page.
AUTHOR restores paper to its rightful place while elevating it to a collectors item, for no one would dare tear a sheet out of the book or toss it in the recycling pile. Instead we are invited to delve into a sacred world made manifest by the people who love the permanence of the printed object.
All images: © AUTHOR, courtesy of Thames & Hudson.
Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.