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Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 02/22/2011

I-Pad interactive arts & fashion magazine launched

By Katherine Boyle

Sorkin's script would be decisively different had he stepped deep into the fashion world. No Gap sweatshirts. No jabbering Jesse Eisenberg. Replace nerds with models, the Phoenix with SoHo House, and Facebook with iPad-only media and the newest, "new" boon for tech is born.

After New York Fashion Week, names like Rodarte, Wang and Kors are still the talk of Uptown. But the whispers tell of another creation, an innovative media collaboration that's so indefinable--with words, at least--that it evades the most basic Google search.
Enter POST: the first independent iPad-only arts and fashion magazine, a hodge-podge of fashion films, interactive Q&As and international gallery openings that engage the eyes and fingers, simultaneously. Aiming to free readers from that archaic laptop (POST doesn't have even have a website,) it celebrated its U.S. launch at Fashion Week.

"It's a tactile medium," said POST editorial director Xerxes Cook. "We consider it to be the next step in the evolution of a book or magazine, rather than a computer. It's an experience you hold in your hands. You're not separated from it."

Which is why POST's content -- 360-degree product shots, models like gap-toothed Ashley Smith whirling in slow motion -- doesn't translate to print magazines or even websites, especially when the next issue will be published in five languages.
Creative director Remi Paringaux, formerly the art director of Dazed & Confused Magazine and Vogue Hommes Japan, developed the concept for POST before the iPad even existed.

"POST is an interactive magazine," said Paringaux. "We've bypassed photography and replaced it with film. That's a radical approach, but it's given us freedom to make fashion films for a touch screen, which will take a while to shape itself. It's not defined yet."
Of course, POST strives to mold that definition.

The creative team, schooled in print magazines and tied to London culture staples like i-D and Tank Magazine, doesn't want to see print decline, let alone disappear. That's why POST resolves to stay away from it; print will have to change to keep up with them.
"Because we're an only-child born of the iPad, we're not intimidated by print or trying to imitate it," said Cook, invoking images of sibling rivalry. "We don't have codes that inform how we do things. We get to start afresh every issue and evolve."

Erika Kurihara, fashion director of POST, anticipates that the iPad will change fashion photography, too. In some ways, it already has. "The most interesting change is with the girls," said Kurihara. "You see the models getting to have a bit more character, they move, they have identities." Models like Karlie Kloss have proven as much.

At first glance, projects like POST seem niche--at best, a fad or tech treat that will catch on once Condé Nast gives the "OK." But like with most first-past-the-post publications (pun intended), this small, nimble team is purposefully pointing out an array of fashion and media quandaries, from obvious worries--will the interactive Q&A kill the interview star?--to more weighty concerns that affect both editorial and advertisers, i.e., are these two camps converging?

POST's malleable tech team can shift between advertising and editorial easily, making it hard to tell whether that model-turned-art you're touching is POST's digital cover or a major fashion house's ad. It presents a philosophical problem for magazines still tied to the standard prehistoric ethical code: separation of ad and content.

"The way we make our money is by making apps for fashion brands, so this is like our experimental playground, where we can really innovate," said Cook.

It's unclear how their playground will change fashion editorial in a broad sense. Ads have always sold September issues, but in print, the page produces a physical limitation that the mind can't ignore. With the iPad, the physical limits are unknown, and POST's fantastical fashion films prove that advertisements are "eye candy and finger candy" too.
"It's web 3.0. It's edited and curated for the user, and we're constantly evolving," said Paringaux.

Their second issue, POST: Gravity, set to be published late March, is a tech-heavy ode to outer space or what Cook calls, "the invisible law that binds us all together, showing how we're breaking these invisible boundaries."

Which begs the heady analogy: if the iPad is POST: Matter, and next month is POST: Gravity, then what's POST: POST?

"Holograms," Paringaux jokes. "There will always be something else."

By Katherine Boyle  | February 22, 2011; 1:10 PM ET
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