Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fashion gets real.

Artists are known for being keen on abusing the thin, blurry, fragile line between beauty and horror, enticement and revulsion. For its August's issue, the Vogue Italia team decided to bring out a topical theme, more dramatic and impact-ful than the portrayal of a putrescent carcasse in that the latter may remain rather abstract in people's mind. Here it has nothing to do with working out a completely contrived concept leaving the mere beholder startled. It's about throwing a crude reality at the reckless readers looking for eye candies, labelled clothing and sylphlike figures.

Troughout the story, beauty gets secondary, hence the choice of Kristen McMenamy as the melancholy mermaid. An outstanding face, a daunting presence, a commanding confidence threatening the standards of classic beauty, turning them to ashes, making them sound incredible... This grossly sums up the supermodel's appeal. There's no dichotomy to be seen within the pictures. No glamourous opulence showing up among the crudeness. It's all about upsetting... and evoking.

Any fashion editor having a newspaper at hands could have envisionned to get inspired by the ecologic drama going on in the Gulf - appearing to die out, at the moment, though the impact on the environment isn't bound to do so. But all in all, which one would have been bold enough to publish shots so saddening and thought-provoking? In an industry where the obsession with making money is omnipresent, and thus where satisfying the buyers is the main purpose to reach, not many editors dare produce fashion stories likely to burst their readers' bubble - fashion stories that go beyond fashion. It seems like Franca Sozzani is the exception to this dismal rule. And only for this she'd deserve to get applaused and praised.

It's down to the reader to interpret this editorial as he wants to. Tribute? Denounciation? Mere whim? Anyhow, if I was to prove that fashion isn't only a matter of glitsy shallowness and ethereal, conceptual beauty, I would grab that issue and show it away.

Source : via Omnis @ tFS


Le Mort Joyeux said...

Meisel is too good of an artist to spoon-feed the readers with his own opinion, a virtue worthy of adulation and even more so since it has become increasingly rare on the other side of the pond.

It's cool that you make a connection between Meisel's muse and Baudelaire's putrescent carcass. If I remember correctly the speaker of the poem also reminds his beloved all too pointedly that such fate awaits her in a not too distant future. And that no doubt is our collective fate as this ecological disaster and countless others persist.

Decades from now, when all these excitations - either negative or positive - have subside, what would become of this editorial? I doubt the average people would take the time to dig through google’s search engine for info about the oil spill. Heck, they probably have even worse environmental problems to deal with. Perchance they come across this editorial, would it be able to convey the significance of the previous generation’s mistake – a responsibility that many entrust upon art since unheard melodies are much sweeter? It shall remain in midst of other woe than ours, but as a friend or foe, that is a question only history as written by the next generation can answer.

As for now, people are too delirious and disoriented in this mass outrage against the industry’s “insolence” to give a lucid judgment on the ed, and so even if rational arguments for and against it emerge, Bacchus would probably spill his drink all over them… and ours.

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