Strike a Pose: Reimagining 15 Iconic Vogue Images Through a Target Lens

August 13, 2015 - Article reads in
Vogue + TargetStyle

If you love fashion, chances are you’ve been waiting with bated breath for your September issue of Vogue, known throughout the fashion world as the trendsetting guide to the fall season. Well, the September cover is finally here and, in an industry first, Target and Vogue have joined together to make the issue available early, arriving exclusively in all Target stores starting tomorrow. But that’s not the only special treat for Target fans… 

Within the illustrious issue, Target pays homage to fashion history with a 20-page insert. Let’s talk about how we’re creating TargetStyle, in Vogue, reimagining some of the most iconic images unearthed from Vogue's archives—using only Target product. Yes, only Target product. 

Throughout the 20 pages, you’ll see Target apparel, accessories, home goods, grocery essentials and more as inspired by historic, high-fashion photos. Take the oversized pearl necklace from the January 1929 cover, which Target reimagined using volleyballs. Or the April 1918 peacock cover, which we’ve recomposed with towels, draperies, wall décor and a feather duster. Even the eye of the peacock is a surprise—a brass place card holder in the shape of a snail.  

Best of all, the seminal portraits receive an update in experience as well.

Readers can use Shazam’s new image-recognition technology: Simply open the Shazam app, then point your phone’s camera at any of the pages in the Target ad campaign and you’ll find a digital experience that allows you to compare the archival images with the reimagined ones, find behind-the-scenes stories, gifs, cinemagraphs and even shoppable moments.

To hear more about this groundbreaking activation, take a look at our behind the scenes video below and read our interview with Todd Waterbury, chief creative officer, Target.

TargetStyle, in Vogue. Play

What was the inspiration for this idea?

Our inspiration was the cultural moment of New York Fashion Week and the significance of Vogue's September issue. We set out to answer the question: “How would Target express this moment in Vogue that is both inclusive and inventive – that is, how would we express it Target-style?”

Target has had a large presence in the September issue of Vogue for several years now. Why is this important for your brand?

Vogue is an icon of fashion and style; its cultural authority sets the tone and inspires the conversations for the season. Style is an incredibly important part of the Target brand, and there’s no bigger style moment than fall, and no bigger style statement than the September issue. For this cultural moment, we set out to develop an idea that was not only unique to the Target brand but something that could only be done in Vogue. The inspiration came from the incredible images for which Vogue is famous. 

This is a pretty sizeable endeavor. Who’d you enlist to work on this project?

This work would not have been possible without the talent and tenacity of a small, but mighty team from Target, our creative partners at Mother, as well as Haworth Media. They truly worked as one by adapting to the unexpected and focusing on new ways to amplify and execute the full potential of this idea. 

The talent for this campaign—both in front of and behind the camera—is impressive, to say the least. Why was having this roster so important?

It was all about honoring the integrity of the idea, which was to reimagine a collection of classic Vogue covers and editorial images using only Target products. As homage to the photographers whose images appeared in Vogue, it was important that the talent had worked with the publication in the past. We were thrilled to have a stellar team on both sides of the lens. This included the exceptional eye of Tim Walker who captured Shona Heath’s inventive sets and Jacob K’s playful and imaginative styling. In front of the camera were Edie Campbell, Karen Elson, Imaan Hammam, Candice Huffine, along with Veruschka, who appears in two images, including our reinterpretation the iconic "braid" image in which she also appeared, from the April 1967 issue.                                                       

Some of the products featured throughout this ad are a bit unexpected. Why such an eclectic mix?

Part of the magic of Target is the incredible and affordable range of what we offer, both in our stores and  We felt this was a fresh way to demonstrate how the “TargetStyle” point of view can bring new attention to our designs and new meaning to items that are part of everyday life. In reimagining the serene, arctic landscape from the November 1964 issue, we brought  together products from our home, décor and toy departments in a beautiful and unexpected way. In looking at the image we created, I’m quite sure in saying this is the first time “Boyfriend pillows”, “Vogue” and "the Wubble" appear in the same sentence, let alone in the same place. 

The digital experience you’ve created with Shazam allows consumers to see the new images you’ve created, along with the originals that served as their inspiration. Why was that important?

While it’s often said that inspiration can be found everywhere, it still starts somewhere. Part of the pleasure of experiencing the meaning behind this work is seeing where we started. I love the way Shazam provides just that: an instant, mobile way not only to see each original Vogue image, but to access on-set video of the models, as well as an easy, on-demand way to learn about and buy the Target products featured throughout the pages. 

Are there any interesting or surprising anecdotes you can share from set?

While I knew which images we had chosen to recreate, I didn’t know how they would be recreated, or with which Target products. The best part of the project for me was getting a first look at the sets as they were being built. The imagination that Shona, Jacob and the team brought to the work was remarkable. 

The images from your ad will be on display for the public during New York Fashion Week. What do you hope  people walk away with after seeing those images or discovering the ads in the pages of Vogue?

I believe that the best ideas share two things, an element of inevitability and surprise. A great example of these two elements coming to life is what we did during another cultural moment earlier this year, the #moremusic idea at the GRAMMY® Awards. It brought a deeper experience to what is often considered a traditional medium (the network broadcast commercial) by reimagining it—connecting it to platforms and technologies in a first-ever way to truly bring more to music’s biggest night. I feel the Vogue work allows us to amplify another cultural moment with an idea that shares many of the same qualities, but in a different way. It seeks to bring a deeper experience to print, (also considered a traditional medium) by connecting it to technologies, like Shazam (and our products) in easy, new ways within fashion’s biggest statement. When the Target brand participates in an important moment, I always want us to push ourselves, and our partners, to bring something more, something special that enhances the experience for the audience. I describe this as having “presence with purpose.” When people see this work, whether or not they express it quite this way, I do hope they feel this.

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