Italian Vogue’sPhoto Shoot: Slick or Sick?

Should fashion and politics mix? My mother asked me this and I’m gonna give this piece of controversy a stab.

Fashion and politics have always mixed.  Just like anything else, fashion is affected by what’s going on in the world-whether that be politics, the economy, or social issues.  For centuries fashion has told the story of what’s happening in the world, often times in practical ways.  Before WWII, in the 20’s, the flappers wore boyish figure-less dresses with elaborate beading and details…a statement that no garment (mainly corsets) could restrict them. During WWII, there were fabric restrictions which in turn brought sleeker, less ostentatious garments.  After the war, the big full skirt that you picture when you think of the 50’s was popularized by Dior–and excess was welcomed. The baby boom generation meant more mother’s staying at home and families spending time together–and along comes American Sportswear.  The 70’s meant pantsuits for women…the 80s brought powersuits.  And so on and so forth.

In short, the two are always intermingled.  In today’s culture however, fashion is all about making a statement…provoking controversy.  It draws attention right? And like they say, “any press is good press” whether it be “really good” or “really bad.” But does setting up a photo shoot where oil drenched models are set up to look like dead birds cross the line?

A Yahoo article I read said this, “Without question the photographs are beautifully constructed, and overwhelmingly dark. They bring about a sense of urgency that makes you want to educate yourself, donate money, or help in clean up efforts. But we do question the intentions of Italian Vogue, and whether or not they wanted to make a poignant statement or merely hoped to get attention by being provocative.”

New York Magazine agrees, “Fashion and fashion magazines are supposed to inspire and provoke, no argument there. These (admittedly gorgeous) images could be interpreted as a call to Gulf Coast action, one whose end goal is to make readers feel so moved and/or disgusted that they start funneling their life’s savings into wildlife-relief funds. Or, the editorial could be seen as a slick (no pun intended) and tasteless publicity stunt, in which case, we predict, it’ll be far more successful.”

CNN made some good points in their article so I’ll refer you there for some valid researched thoughts on this particular controversy.  There’s no doubt Italian Vogue made a splash with this one…

What do you think?


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