An oil-spill inspired editorial: appropriate or tasteless?

Italian Vogue is one of the most talked about editions in the world. The magazine tends to use current issues like the war in Iraq or the increase in the use of botox as a source of inspiration for their shoots. The current edition of Italian Vogue includes a 24 page editorial shot by Steven Meisel, titled “Water and Oil.” Pictures in the spread include model Kristen McMenamy covered in oil, coughing up seawater and wearing dirty, black feathers on the beach. This way, the magazine criticizes the oil spill and the way it’s being handled. 

The fashion website Refinery29 calls the photos beautiful, saying the images are realistic interpretations of the injured and oil-soaked animals of the Gulf. But Refinery29 also says, “treating beauty and glamour out of tragedy seems quite f’d-up to us, not to mention wasteful and hypocritical, seeing as thousands of dollars of luxury clothing was flown in, and then subsequently ruined for the shoot….glamorizing this recent ecological and social disaster for the sake of ‘fashion’ reduces the tragic event to nothing more that attention-grabbing newsstand fodder.”

Images courtesy of Vogue Italia.

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