Our Visionaire Collection

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been introducing both our physical and online collections to our students. One which has really excited and inspired is our Visionaire Collection.

Visionaire is a tangible, luxury art and fashion publication. We subscribed back in 1994 and have 47 of the 66 published issues in our collection. Each issue is designed and produced with the idea of  pushing the boundaries of creativity and challenging the concept of the ‘printed page’. Over the course of its journey, Visionaire has developed a vast network of world class designers, artists, museums, galleries,  celebrities, companies and photographers. Collaborating with a chosen handful on each issue, they produce a uniquely themed publication, which is a limited edition of mostly, just a few thousand.

“Fashions rise and fashions set, but Visionaire continues to shine with its unperturbed new visions, influenced by nobody, influencing them all.”
– Karl Lagerfeld [www.visionaireworld.com]

The Visionaires are a valuable resource for students across a range of different programmes and their thematic approach can be particularly useful. Many of the issues focus on themes such as colour, the senses, particular designers or companies and use of them offers opportunities to examine design and form.

For Fashion and Textile students there is much to be gained from further exploration. From issues which look at colour, such as Blue, Gold, and White, to editions which have focused on a particular fashion house or designer , the range is vast. For example, Spirit: A Tribute to Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garçons and The Fashion Special. The latter features 45 of the world’s most influential fashion designers and is contained in a custom made, monogrammed portfolio, designed by Louis Vuitton.

Whilst Blue, being sponsored by Levi’s, focusses on Americana denim, White is one of their more elegant issues, using almost no ink. Artwork has been embossed and varnished, using braille and Ruben Toledo used hand-cut tissue paper for his illustrations. Comme des Garçons saw the introduction of their first guest editor, founder of the label, Rei Kawakubo. The issue works as a visual interview with photography contributions from Mario Sorrenti and Nick Knight, who mixed Comme des Garçons with Alexander McQueen capturing the iconic image below.


Devon Aoki by Nick Knight

9bfe61be8fc620631cc04ea95edd6420Some issues of Visionaire are sponsored or focused on a leading brand, artist or company, such as Where? Hermes, Vreeland Memos, Love and 40 Roses. The Vreeland Memos contains 150 personal memos from Diana Vreeland to her staff when she was Editor-in-Chief at Vogue, giving a personal insight in to the legacy. Love, sponsored by Tiffany’s, echoes their recognisable brand within its design. A vintage novel contained in a Tiffany’s drawstring bag, which is held in a blue box with a white ribbon. A collection of tokens of love fill the pages from numerous artists and for the first time, Visionaire also includes original poetry and prose. Included with each issue is a silver heart by Tiffany designer Elsa Peretti. There is much to inspire for Fashion Management and Marketing students and those studying advertising or brand management.




Students studying Graphic Arts, Games Design or Illustration would find the design elements and presentation of the magazine useful. Issues such as Fairytale sees fashion photos from Inez and Vinoodh manipulated with illustrations by Jo Ratcliffe and illustrator Gabriela Fridriksdottir has created a sing-along book with Bjork, including a sound chip of her singing. Play, sponsored by PlayStation, is in the form of one of their consoles and is focused on film and the moving image. Compressing footage into a printed format, they have then used the vintage, tactile format of a flipbook.

When it comes to photography, image making or printing, every single issue of Visionaire provides examples from the best in the world. In particular Magic, Movement, Dreams and Rio provide more exploratory methods of image making, from lenticular cards and 3D slide images to using vellum to enhance the stop-motion effects of photographs. Dreams is an inkless issue, where the images have been created using intricate laser-cutting, only really perceivable once placed on the foil pages of the book.




Every issue of Visionaire is unique in its form, and students studying Sculpture, Fine Art or Design may enjoy exploring the magazine’s use of materials, from different types of paper used and pop-up on an engineering scale to ‘pages’ on vinyl records (which comes with its very own car speaker with needle to play them) and metal sheets with 2D photographs turned in to 3D reliefs.



There’s even an Artist Toys issue, where Visionaire sent out the moulds for various designers to ‘dress’ and issue 61, ‘Larger Than Life’, which won a Guinness World Record for the largest published magazine in 2011. The issue measures a grand 91.4cm x 125.7cm… so is stored independently from the rest of the collection!


Robynne holding issue 61: Larger Than Life with Lady Gaga by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin


The Visionaires are held in Library 2, in the glass door cabinets. If you wish to view any of the issues, please email wsaenqs@soton.ac.uk or place a request at the Loans Desk. We operate a Collect Service between 11am–12pm and 2pm–3pm, where we collect requested material. Please bear this in mind when asking to see the collection, if you have not made a prior appointment.

You can find out more about our Special Collections here and also download our PDF guide to the Visionaire Collection.

The Visionaire publication is produced by Visionaire World, a transmedia company who concepts, curates, and produces art multiples, events, public art installations, film, branded content, apparel, and publications. “We are storytellers…. Visionaire focuses on the cross-pollination of art, fashion, film, and contemporary culture as a tool to communicate unique experiences to viewers and visitors, across multiple platforms, in physical spaces, online, and mobile.”

Robynne Willowby, November 2016.