Vogue Italia and Steven Meisel’s Water & Oil: Follow-up

When I woke up this morning I was surprised to see that last night’s blog post on Water & Oil had been linked by a couple of fashion bloggers.  Bloggers whom I really admire and whose opinions I value.

Both Grit and Glamour and Vogue Gone Rogue have chimed in with their thoughts on the “editorial” and I think, for the most part, we are all on the same page.  We each see the potential of what this piece could have been, but we seem to agree that the follow through just wasn’t there.

Vogue Gone Rogue makes some great points about what seems to be bothering the American mainstream most about the spread:

“The majority of american backlash due to the editorial seems to be focused on the very fact that a fashion magazine would do something like this… why doesn’t fashion have the right to comment on world issues as well? sure, vogue italia could have done a better job, but if you just look at the photographs for a moment and ignore the product placement of the text, the majority of the images are powerful and disturbing… we’re not all googling oil spill images, but many of us come across fashion magazine editorials all the time… would we be talking about the oil spill right now if this editorial hadn’t been created? unlikely.”

To an extent I agree.  However, I do believe that if Vogue Italia had included that call to action, and had omitted all product placement and commercialism from this photoshoot, that above may not even be an issue.  The photos of this disaster speak for themselves.  When you try to interpret that you should let the images speak for themselves, with no product placement.  No designer clothing.  Maybe I am just a “jaded American”, but the impact of these images is severely lessened when, instead of seeing information on how to help, I see text about which eyeshadow was used or what dress Kristen is wearing.

This behind-the-scenes video is just as bad.  It focuses on the designer pieces and again, includes no call to action.


Raising awareness is a great thing – and the editorial and surrounding controversy certainly has people talking, which is also wonderful.  But what is the point in raising awareness if you don’t include information on how to help?

Then – it seems to me – all you are doing is trying to capitalize on a tragedy.

Now, taking a page from the fabulous V at Grit and Glamour, I am including a call to action as well.  For information on how YOU can help, click here: The Gulf Oil Spill: How You Can Help.

{ 16 comments… add one }

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  • Beautifully Invisible September 15, 2010, 9:55 PM

    It's powerful, I agree… but I still hold that it was tasteless. 🙂

    Reply
  • Guest September 15, 2010, 9:55 PM

    The imagery in the editorial is very powerful – it brings the issue the emotional aspect that news headline cannot. Seeing a woman lay in such manner alone sends a jab to the heart. The job is done. If you are touched, do more research on the subject. If you are not, stare at the images and look for something wrong to say about them.

    Reply
  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:06 PM

    The fact that they didn't think to add that extra text makes me think that their focus wasn't ON helping or raising awareness, just selling issues. It would have been so simple – so why not do it?

    Reply
  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:04 PM

    Agreed on all counts.

    Reply
  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:04 PM

    Agreed. Isn't it funny how one small adjustment could have changed the way so many perceive this shoot?

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  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:02 PM

    Agree 100%

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  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:02 PM

    Thank you so much!

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  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:01 PM

    Agreed. And maybe they could have omitted all the product placement and commentary.

    Reply
  • Beautifully Invisible August 13, 2010, 11:00 PM

    The actual images are difficult to look at, as they should be. I think the idea behind the Vogue shoot definitely has merit, again, I just don't think they followed through with the potential.

    Reply
  • Heather Fonseca August 10, 2010, 12:42 AM

    I haven't looked at a single image of this tragedy except these ones that you posted. I just can't. It's too upsetting. I wish Italian Vogue had taken their photo shoot more seriously, because sometimes people, like me, will look at images in a fashion magazine but not similar images in a more serious venue. Don't know what to say really, but I'm so glad you posted the images.

    Reply
  • Natasha Burns August 9, 2010, 12:13 PM

    Thankyou for posting this, I had no idea! It's so sad because they could've just added another paragraph and no one would've minded! I think it was done with the right intention of raising awareness, it just translated quite badly.

    Reply
  • Leia August 9, 2010, 4:06 AM

    I am so glad you have added a call to action as well! By the way, I shared your article as much as I could – with facebook friends, on twitter, etc. It was brilliant.

    Reply
  • Kionon August 9, 2010, 4:00 AM

    If you read all the comments on V's post, then you know about my feelings already. However, I reiterate, as a Texan, this really bothers me, not because of the photographer or the model. I think they might have been going for art that has a message. It is Vogue Italia to which my ire is directed.It had this great piece of art, and did it do anything with it? No. It just commercialised it and used to sell, sell, sell.

    Classy, Vogue Italia, real classy. 🙁

    Reply
  • Porcelain complexion August 8, 2010, 9:20 PM

    Thank you for posting this, I hadn't heard / seen it.
    I wholeheartly agree with what you've said.
    It's is extremely dissappointing that the editor didn't insist that there was a more ethical side to the shoot (i.e. letting readers know how they could help) rather than simply using a terrible tragedy to increase sales.

    Reply
  • kristy August 8, 2010, 6:40 PM

    thanks for the quote and link darling! i think we're far more than just 'pretty much' on the same page. i'm in complete accord with you. vogue italia definitely dropped the ball on this one.

    Reply
  • A Brit Greek August 8, 2010, 2:59 PM

    Doll, great post, I also saw V's post on this… with some magazines, it's all about the money…product placement, i'd imagine to some extent there is concern for what is going on… but not nearly enough, it would have been so easy just to add a little more text on how to help!!!

    Thanks for raising the awareness, big thumbs up to all who are doing something about this situ.

    x.o.x.o

    Reply