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The fashion bible – About the first edition of the Czechoslovak mutation

Fast confession – Ornella Koktová about the fashion bible: I would not be surprised if Dáša Havlová was jealous of Olga

Tereza Janatová
27.Aug 2018
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5 minutes to read

Total madness broke out on social networks on the day when the first issue of the world-famous magazine came out. This time on behalf of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Of course I registered it. However, I bought it only a few days later. On the cover we can see Karolína Kurková as Olga Havlová. Inside there are "treasures" of various types. Allow me to exceptionally express my opinion with one single question. Could it really not have been done differently?


Like many women, you got your hands on the first Vogue magazine issue in the Czechoslovakian version. What was your first impression?

At first I was excited. When I was younger, I thought how primitive we were that we do not have Vogue yet. So I often fantasized about marrying a rich guy, and as a hobby I would published this magazine. But I do not know where the mistake happened. They were somehow quicker.

And did that excitement last?

Not really. I would start with the cover. It's not exactly my kind of thing. Olga Havlová? Seriously? The cover seems too underground, too oriented in the artistic direction. But then I thought about it and realized that it was more about the idea of the first lady of Czechoslovakia in a free country. So maybe that's why.

Luxusní byt na prodej s terasou a výhledem
Luxusní byt na prodej s terasou a výhledem, Praha 1

Model Karolína Kurková portrays Olga Havlová on the cover. So if not Olga, who would select for the cover of the first issue?

I would leave Karolína there. But a little different. I think it would be zesty if she had more make up and was dressed, for example, in a more modern version of the Czech folk costume. Or Slovak costume, if I count the Slovaks, too. A folk headdress and her blond curls, that would be, I think, very sexy. It would be a 2 in 1. There would be Czechoslovakian history there, and it would have the spark and the right sexy touch.

You told me before the interview that it was quite a demanding read. How long did it take you to go through it?

About two hours. But I really read everything in detail.

Did it intrigue you to the point that you'd come back to it a second time?

I have to admit that I was positively surprised by Emma Smetana. I couldn't stand her until now. I don't like her words about her mother. However, I find that we are quite similar in terms of children and their upbringing. So I would read that again. And otherwise, in terms of fashion, I think I'm quite a bit ahead, because I have already written about everything that's written there in our fashion "AGAINST THE CURRENT". So I'm glad we were the first.

So in Vogue we can find a summary of what has already been said...

Exactly. Been there, done that. And the other thing that surprised me was that there was not so much fashion in it anymore. Overall, it was more about psychology, design and architecture. There was really a minimum amount of fashion.

Architecture? I would expect something lighter when sitting at the hairdresser's for three hours...

I was also surprised. Many times I bought the American Vogue and there were fun interviews with singers, actresses, various events, and so on. The Czechoslovak issue, on the other hand, is politics, politics and politics. I don't enjoy that. I think it's too heavy. So, as you say, it's definitely not suitable for a several-hours-long session at a hairdresser's. You would just leave with a heavier head.

So if I understand correctly, "our" Vogue cannot compare to the American one?

Absolutely not. However, I hope that the first issue here was really just unique, about freedom and politics and Havel. And that it will not be so serious in the other issues. But as far as reputation is concerned, it will never match the other Vogues. I read the book by the first Czechoslovak top model Pavlína Pořízková, and she described that when someone got a job in the Spanish, Polish or even Japanese Vogue, it was never as exclusive compared to the Italian, French, English and American Vogue.

What do you think that is?

I think that when a Czech top model gets there, whether on the cover or just appears in the magazine, it is very exclusive in our circumstances. When she goes abroad, it unfortunately changes. No one thinks it's that special.

In the first issue, statues were photographed, let's say, a little differently. Do you think it was necessary?

It seemed a little out of concept. Something extra. Both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I would have invested the money differently. What struck me was a photo taken in nature, where the horse was the main element, which caught my attention because I love horses very much. The guy who took it flew 8,000 kilometers to for the picture. In the photo is a meadow, a horse and an unblossomed cherry tree. It seems crazy to me. He could have gone here to Suchdol in Prague and gotten the same picture. For me again, spent money that could be invested completely differently.

In your opinion, is Vogue intended for every woman?

I think it is. However, if we talk about this first Czechoslovak issue, I'm not sure if we would meet Dáša Havlová with a copy in her hand. (laughter)

I strongly doubt that ...

So do I. However, she might rightly demand that she be on the cover. She definitely had far better fashion sense than Olga. In fact, it's kind of funny. Like a little soap opera. I would not be surprised if she was jealous even after all those years.

Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia participated in this first edition. However, does it not seem to you that the Slovaks are a little suppressed?

Yes. I have the feeling that Slovakia joined in so that there would be two countries together in order to be stronger. Which I do not really know if was attained. From what I saw and read, if we talk about written text, 80% are Czech written articles and the rest is in Slovak. Somewhat unequal, right? But it is like in the time of Czechoslovakia. We have always been a richer country than Slovakia. Practically in all directions, and it seems to have manifested here, too.

But Slovaks are known for being able to sell better in reality shows or talent competitions and taking the high road. They enjoy themselves more. Perhaps the result would have been better if it had only been on their shoulders...

That's true. It is quite interesting because, as far as show business itself is concerned, the programs are more fun, more relaxed, more imaginative. They have no inhibitions in fashion. Certainly, Slovaks are more open to experimentation than Czechs. I have the feeling that in the Czech Republic people are still pretending to be someone they are not. And the worst thing about it is that it immediately shows when you cross the border. Just look at fashion. The Slovaks are not afraid to wear sequins, do up their hair and go out into the streets with red lips. Just go to KarlovyVary. You will recognize a Russian instantly. How? Because even when she is on her way to a massage, it is all about style. Maybe sometimes it is too much, but so what. She wears a tracksuit and is able to decorate it with pearls. Groomed, perfumed, with handbag in hand. Slovakia is, in my opinion, the first country towards the East that "works" a bit differently. We're headed a little more towards the west. And it almost seems like we've forgotten ourselves somewhere. Of course, even in the Czech Republic we meet "chic" ladies. But there are not so many of them. I have a feeling that women prefer to go for gray dresses when shopping, so as not to draw attention to themselves.

So how would you summarize the first edition of our Vogue?

I hope the second issue will be better. And in all aspects. It will represent the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the cover, but in a really specific zesty style. It's 2018 and that should be taken into account. Do not be afraid. I feel like we hold back unnecessarily. The second thing – what we find inside. I firmly hope that there will be at least one really relaxing affair, during which I can put my legs up and my head won't overheat.

Fast confession:

How do you feel about the "new" statue of Antonín Dvořák?

It's kind of weird, and I'd really like to know who's approving it on at city council.

What should we learn from Olga Havlová?

Probably how to survive the role of a woman in the shadow of her husband.

Why are there more male statues in Prague than female?

Because we live only briefly in the time of equality of women and men, so not enough time has passed.

Why are some designers afraid of criticism?

They probably have low self-confidence.

Many experts claim that Olga Havlová didn't know much about fashion. Others say she's the voice of the nation. How do you perceive it?

As for fashion, I think she lived in a weird time when she was not really able to get some pretty clothes. And I think it was the last thing that interested her.

Who should be on the cover of the second issue?

I hope there will be some beautiful model, in a nice dress, and it will be world-class.

What do Karolína Kurková and Olga Havlová have in common?

Only their origin from the Czech Republic and the fact that they both have prominent noses.

When you saw the cover, what was the first impression?

I was quite shocked because I felt it was inappropriate. I know that Olga Havlová was more of an introvert. I do not think she would ever agree to take a picture half naked.

AnchorWhat is missing in the first issue of the Czechoslovak version?

I would say a little more fun. So far, it's too serious. I would like more joke and a spark.

Would you like to shoot for the cover of Vogue?

I hope it happens one day.

Can the Czech version of this magazine reach the level of other versions?

I don't think that will ever happen. All the other versions except for the English, French, and American Vogue are just small tentacles that try to be like these three. I tell it like it is.

AnchorIs there an "Against the Current" section, should it even be there? Does it have its place?

This section is a little geeky, very serious, and it's about various interesting individuals that are not generally known here...but it's more like a textbook article.

Why do laymen often have a better sense of fashion than experts?

Because they live in a normal real world, where wearability has to apply to work and leisure. People who are in the fashion industry live in their own bubble, which I call sci-fi.
The interviewee asks the editor:

Have you been on holiday yet?

No and I'm not planning on it.
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