Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

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photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

Terry Richardson has done it again. The ever-controversial photographer is at the center of another maelstrom, thanks to his latest spread in Vogue Paris. Nestled amongst the pages of the magazine’s 90th Anniversary Edition lies an editorial entitled “Festin”, which simply translates to “Feast”. Yet the shoot is anything but simple.

The editorial, starring plus-sized model Crystal Renn, is striking, and will certainly leave a lasting impression on every viewer. Full of rich, opulent colors and rich, opulent foods, the images are unlike any I have seen in recent memory. When I first saw the images my response was less than pleasant. They caused a physical reaction – and it was not a pleasant one. Despite the richness of the shots, I didn’t find the images before me attractive (at all), and I couldn’t focus on any of the accessories or clothing because I was too busy gagging at the vision of Crystal Renn swallowing a squid whole.

photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

As you can see from the image above, the shoot is decidedly phallic and gluttonous in nature – neither of which are surprising, given that Richardson is the photographer. Richardson appears to be making a statement on both lust and gluttony with the shoot.

Gluttony isn’t just about over-eating … it’s about over-indulging. It’s about taking pleasure in something that should simply be essential to survival. Many eons ago, Francis of Assisi used to sprinkle ashes[!] on his food so that he would not enjoy the act of eating. Today, the act of eating has become something different… we derive pleasure from eating, and society encourages us to over-indulge (super size me!). Similarly, gluttony is a theme that could be considered prevalent in the fashion industry. We call it by another name – conspicuous consumption.

photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

Richardson's inspiration? Gluttony by Paul Cadmus, 1949 (on right)

The lustful nature of the shoot is also evident throughout. The sins of lust and gluttony go hand in hand – overindulgence (wine!) leads to lust. Right? Right? Certainly, in these images, the gluttony is leading to some lustful actions!

photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

This may be shocking to some of you, but, in concept, I like this editorial. The problem I have with the shoot lies with the additional message it carries by having a plus-sized model be at the center of it. Whether or not it was Richardson’s intent, having Renn at the center of the spread will raise the question of plus-sized models and their place in the fashion industry. Not everyone will analyze the shoot and think about the messages it contains. Some will simply see a plus-sized model over-indulging, and find nothing attractive or compelling about it.

photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

For me personally, I would have liked to have seen multiple models as the subject of the shoot, of all shapes and sizes. I think that would have made the message much more interesting.

photoshoot  Gluttony: Crystal Renn for Vogue Paris

What are your thoughts on the shoot?

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                  • WendyBrandes October 3, 2010, 8:17 PM

                    I like it. Reminds me of Helmut Newton’s shoot with Nadja Auermann in leg braces/casts/wheelchair: http://ffffound.com/image/9455669c8ab4ba6eef9cf14b452a2a693e5c914d

                    I think Crystal is totally enjoying saying “Fuck you” to everyone too.

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:42 PM

                    I forgot about that shoot – thanks for the link. I can see why this one reminds you of it.

                    Reply
                  • Anonymous October 1, 2010, 6:46 PM

                    I’m sure Terri Richardson was very clear in his intentions when he chose Ren. However, I wonder if the shoot would have been even more disturbing with a thinner model. Seeing anyone gorge themselves is unpleasant, but someone who is clearly skinnier than average could hint towards bulimia or some type of abnormality (though I’m not sure what that would be). I’m not being very articulate, but all I know is that I would much rather see a healthy body like Ren’s here than a “regular” model’s.

                    xo Marissa
                    (The Well-Appointed Catwalk)

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:41 PM

                    I see your point, but I think I would still would have preferred to see a number of models in the shoot, instead of just Renn. 1 “skinny” or 1 “fat” model would perpetuate stereotypes. Put a few of them together and you might actually have a through-provoking spread.

                    Reply
                  • Kayla October 1, 2010, 1:25 AM

                    Am I crazy that I don’t find it offensive? I don’t think they are particularly beautiful or creative but they don’t “shock” me per-say.

                    Ramblings of a Small Town Girl

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:39 PM

                    I don’t think it’s crazy – I just think that proves how differently people perceive things. I’ve actually seen people describe it as beautiful as well, which is interesting to me. The fashion industry is so subjective, and shoots like this prove that.

                    Reply
                  • Casee Marie October 1, 2010, 12:36 AM

                    It’s getting more and more difficult to cut through the behemoth layer of sleaze in Terry’s shoots. I like Crystal’s make-up and the overload of bling, but I feel like all of that plays second fiddle to his skeeviness. Ick.

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:38 PM

                    Agreed.

                    Reply
                  • MJ September 30, 2010, 9:23 PM

                    Shocking is definitely the right word to describe this. I agree with you in the sense that if they showed different size models in this shoot, it might have more impact. However showing a well known plus size model does just like what V said, perpetuate the stereotype.

                    Either way, whether we love it or hate it, the photographer accomplished his goal – making people talk!

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:38 PM

                    Yup, definitely succeeded there!

                    Reply
                  • Anonymous September 30, 2010, 9:03 PM

                    I’ve just started noticing Terry Richardson’s work since reading fashion blogs in earnest this summer. I perceive a kind of cheesiness and obviousness to his imagery. Take the September Vogue Paris, for example. Cheesy, obvious, S&Mish editorial featuring military discipline and sex in uniform. “Huh. This is like porn — high production values, but porn all the same. I wonder if it’s this Terry Richardson guy…sure enough!!” (link to Vogue Paris editorial — not safe for work or kids!)

                    I wonder if the obviousness is a purposeful part of his message, or if it’s just because he likes that aesthetic and can’t escape it. *Could* he do something exquisite yet tasteful?

                    I see it in this gluttony spread, too. Florid colors, a highly made-up and blingy model, overacting in pose and expression, the crass irony of using a plus-sized model. Eh. It’s like a video box at the Adult Superstore down the highway.

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:37 PM

                    Love this comment. I think it’s generally a part of his aesthetic. I was surprised when I saw his shoot of Christina Hendrick’s for the November Harper’s Bazaar because it isn’t as over the top as I am used to from him.

                    Reply
                  • Grit and Glamour September 30, 2010, 5:57 PM

                    That’s disgusting. They always use a “fat” girl to depict gluttony, don’t they? I’m sure this is largely Renn thumbing her nose at her critics, but I think it’s revolting. And I’m sure the two-fingers-in-the-mouth shot is a nod to bulimia in the industry. This seems reckless. And I really don’t like Crystal Renn anymore, as a result. Why feed sterotypes? Could they not have come up with something a little more creative than the obvious?

                    ♥ V
                    http://www.gritandglamour.com
                    twitter: @gritandglamour

                    Reply
                  • Grit and Glamour September 30, 2010, 5:57 PM

                    That’s disgusting. They always use a “fat” girl to depict gluttony, don’t they? I’m sure this is largely Renn thumbing her nose at her critics, but I think it’s revolting. And I’m sure the two-fingers-in-the-mouth shot is a nod to bulimia in the industry. This seems reckless. And I really don’t like Crystal Renn anymore, as a result. Why feed sterotypes? Could they not have come up with something a little more creative than the obvious?

                    ♥ V
                    http://www.gritandglamour.com
                    twitter: @gritandglamour

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:34 PM

                    I tend to agree with what you said. The bulimic implications of the on shot didn’t even occur to me at first, but I am sure you are right. I just think that the whole thing could have been more powerful by using models with varying body types, not just the token “fat girl”.

                    Reply
                  • Tanvi A. September 30, 2010, 4:40 PM

                    Yikes! Nope. Not charming AT ALL!

                    Reply
                  • Beautifully Invisible October 6, 2010, 7:33 PM

                    Furthest thing from charming!

                    Reply