We are living and working in a world that has digitally accelerated – and it is this heightened sense of the virtual, combined with a relative withdrawal from the external world, that has emphasised our engagement with our own physical products, spaces and environments. And our two covers have fully embraced this.

For her newsstand cover and 22-page feature, conceptual artist Clare Strand was inspired by Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions to create a series of graphic interventions on George Harvey’s black-and-white fashion photography. She was drawn to the idea of readers engaging and interacting with the images and even creating their own artworks. Much like the protagonist of Flatland, we’re being challenged by Strand to seek a new perspective, cutting and folding to create three-dimensional objects from the two-dimensional templates presented on the pages. The monochrome palette accentuated Strand’s geometric forms, with the artist explaining ‘it helps boil the world down its essentials’.

Virgil Abloh contributes our limited-edition cover to coincide with his collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. He was likewise drawn to the idea of cutting as activation, creating a dotted-line-with-scissors graphic to encourage readers to cut the magazine in half. It’s a bold gesture that celebrates the tactility and sheer actuality of print. Reinforcing engagement with the physical object, Abloh explained he wants people’s fingerprints to be left on the matte white surface. He will be personally cutting a special series of 100 copies, videoing the process (see @wallpapermag) and selling these on canary---yellow.com, with all proceeds going to the Virgil AblohTM “Post Modern” Scholarship Fund to benefit Black students of academic promise.

September Wallpaper* is our Style Special and reflects the seemingly effortless talent of our fashion director Jason Hughes. With ideas and vision aplenty, he has injected such a modern, fresh take on the season. He’s also mastered new ways of working in the era of social distancing, styling via Zoom and calmly taking challenges in his stride.

Harriet Quick tackles this changing fashion landscape in her piece, ‘The Show Must Go On’, surveying the industry’s innovative solutions to limitations on travel and public gatherings. While producing this issue, we witnessed the birth of shows-in-a- box – notably with Loewe and its exquisite and collectable M/M Paris-designed cabinet of curiosities, and Bottega Veneta’s Tyrone Lebon film, which came in a green neon box with projector included. They’re finding ways to still be physical, to engage, to touch. We’re craving this now and brands are responding. But it’s the co-existence that is most exciting, how far we can push the digital experience and make the physical more desirable, more intimate.

Elsewhere, we celebrate Armani Casa’s 20th anniversary with a peek into the home of a pair of imaginary clients; Tilly Macalister-Smith talks to David Adjaye and Samuel Ross in a wide-ranging conversation touching on architecture, fashion, anti-racism and the future of the creative industries in a post-Covid world; artist Silvia Rosi delivers the season’s nest womenswear in a series of self-portraits; and Jaeger-LeCoultre peels back the curtain on the rare craft of guilloché. Enjoy the issue!

Sarah Douglas


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