The iconic U.S. fashion magazine Vogue has launched, on August 17, its first Czech and Slovak edition in a bid to reinforce its presence in Eastern Europe and tap into those countries’ growing demand in luxury goods.
Announced earlier this year by publisher Condé Nast International (CNI), Vogue CS is published under a licence agreement with Prague-based V24 Media and will be spearheaded by its co-founders Michaela Seewald and Fabrice Biundo. Andrea Běhounková, a long-time contributor to Elle Czech Republic and experienced fashion and lifestyle journalist, was chosen a few months ago as the outlet’s editor-in-chief. In order to appeal directly to both Czech and Slovak readers, the print magazine is published in Czech language – Slovaks having a better understanding of Czech than the other way around.
CNI president and editorial director for brand development Karina Dobrotvorskaya commented on the move, arguing that “the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a dynamic market with a huge appetite for luxury goods and an interesting and thriving fashion scene”. Described as a “notable case of emerging wealth” by Credit Suisse’s 2017 Global Wealth Report, the Czech Republic is home to a highly dynamic fashion scene and to many home-grown talents in the design and lifestyle fields. The demand for luxury goods is growing fast in both countries, especially among the wealthy urban class of Prague and Bratislava.
Michaela Seewald from V24 Media laid out her vision for the newest foreign edition of the 130-year-old magazine, already edited in 23 different countries around the world: “my vision for Vogue Czech Republic and Slovakia is to provide a platform for local fashion designers and artists to present their own unique style and approach that is inevitably a reflection of contemporary Czech and Slovak culture”.
Vogue isn’t, however, arriving on unchartered territory: Elle made its debut in the region in 1994, followed two years later by Harper’s Bazaar. Vogue’s publishers and editors don’t seem particularly worried by those competitors, relying on the iconic magazine’s well-established reputation and a strong local approach to woo the Czech and Slovak public. Shortly after the release of the September issue, celebrating Czechoslovakia 100 years after its foundation, fashion enthusiasts quickly started posting pictures of Vogue CS’s first cover on Instagram, featuring model Karolína Kurková as former First Lady Olga Havlová, the first wife of national icon and last Czechoslovak President Václav Havel.