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Vogue Taps New Creative Director, Raul Martinez, With Deep Roots in Fashion and Publishing

Creative director Raul Martinez conde nast vogue
CREDIT: CONDE NAST

Creative Visionary Raul Martinez is Named Vogue Global Creative Director

In an announcement that sent ripples through the fashion world, Vogue has appointed Raul Martinez as its new Global Creative Director. Martinez will take up the position on February 5th, bringing over three decades of experience spanning creative direction, brand building, and publishing.

The hire marks a homecoming for Martinez at Vogue. He first joined the iconic fashion magazine back in 1988 as Associate Art Director and went on to helm creative for 13 years before departing to found his own agency. After two decades building brands for fashion powerhouses like Valentino and Calvin Klein, Martinez returns to lead creative for the glossy he helped shape into a visual masterpiece.

According to Anna Wintour, Vogue’s Global Editorial Director, Martinez was the natural choice for the vital role overseeing all creative direction for the magazine’s 29 editions globally. “Raul knows Vogue inside out and is not only a brilliant creative thinker, but also a great leader and a wonderful colleague,” she said.

Martinez will have huge shoes to fill. He takes over from Wintour, who held dual Global Editorial and Global Creative Director roles since 2013 when the magazine made moves to globalize operations. Vogue insiders believe splitting these mammoth responsibilities between Wintour and Martinez will allow each to better focus on their specialty. Martinez can zero in on crafting visually stunning content befitting Vogue’s status as the fashion bible, while Wintour spearheads global editorial strategy and content direction.

RAUL MARTINEZ’S HISTORY

The choice to tap Martinez for this vital turnaround mission makes perfect sense when one looks back at his extraordinary history with Vogue…and his own fascinating backstory.

Born in Cuba, Martinez immigrated to the United States as a child. Facing extreme poverty, he found inspiration and solace in fashion magazines at the library. Vogue in particular captured his imagination. As a teen, he boldly called the Condé Nast offices asking for an internship until they finally relented and gave him a shot in the art department.

From those humble mailroom origins, Martinez swiftly rose up the ranks under the mentorship of legendary Vogue Art Director Raul de Molina. By age 26 Martinez took over de Molina’s job, becoming one of the youngest creatives ever to lead visuals for the world’s top fashion magazine. Colleagues remember Martinez constantly challenging norms and spearheading dramatic styling and stark, cutting-edge layouts that came to define Vogue’s radical yet refined aesthetic in the 90s.

But feeling constrained by Vogue bureaucracy, Martinez left at the height of his influence in 1996 to build his boundary-breaking creative vision beyond publishing. He launched boutique branding agency AR New York, amassing a client list bursting with fashion royalty like Calvin Klein and Valentino along with major brands like PepsiCo and Mattel. The agency swelled to over 100 employees and birthed iconic ad campaigns before Martinez sold his stake in 2011.

After a brief stint as Chief Creative Officer back at Condé Nast, Martinez took on the monumental challenge of reinventing Victoria’s Secret’s creative at a time when the lingerie powerhouse desperately needed a revamp amid plunging sales and growing criticism over lack of diversity in its imaging and messaging.

Within two years as Victoria’s Secret Head Creative Director, Martinez steered a successful rebrand centered on inclusivity that boosted revenues and restored brand equity. Insiders say Victoria’s Secret is just a hint of what he can achieve with a blank slate. Now at the helm of Vogue’s creative, sources close to Martinez say he’s coming in with daring ideas to bring more varied voices into its pages and modernize fashion coverage to increase relevance.

WHAT’S TO COME FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS ROLE AND MARTINEZ

What’s certain is that Martinez inherits immense clout to shape global fashion conversation from his new perch. As Vogue prepares to enter its 13th decade, the magazine remains unrivaled as fashion’s most authoritative voice, making it covers highly coveted real estate for designers and brands. Its striking editorials set trends worldwide.

Anna Wintour calls Martinez the ideal candidate to “lead Vogue’s continued evolution”. In Martinez, Condé Nast has both a visionary outsider and consummate insider uniquely equipped to preserve Vogue’s visual brilliance while pushing creative boundaries in ways that attract new generations of readers. We can’t wait to see how his inimitable lens transforms the magazine he once snuck into the mailroom just to glimpse. One thing we know for sure is that it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting.

(Conde Nast)

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