Italian Vogue’s BP inspired photoshoot controversy

The Vogue brand is renowned for its controversial editorials – well, apart from our own rather bland UK Vogue, come on Alexandra Shulman, pull your socks up – this month Italian Vogue have caused outrage from the US after their BP inspired photoshoot, “Water and Oil”.

The massive twenty-four page spread in the September issue features model Kristen McMenamy wearing soaked, black feather outfits, writhing on a tar-slicked beach spitting up oil. The images are taken by equally controversial, famed photographer Steven Meisel –who shoots the Prada campaigns and shot the images for Madonna’s 1992 book “Sex”.

Kathleen Nowak Tucci, who designed the eco-friendly seaweed inspired necklace worn of the front cover, told New York magazine, “I thought it was disturbing and thought-provoking and utterly fascinating in its interpretation of the struggle for survival. It is controversial and interpretative, which is indicative of great artistic expression.”

Obviously, Italian Vogue have achieved what they envisioned, everyone seems to have an opinion on this shoot. While some have argued that it’s intention in purely for aesthetics (online blog Styleite wrote, “While the irony of using clothing worth thousands of dollars that was probably flown halfway around the world for the shoot is not lost on us, we can’t help but think that if this isn’t art, we don’t know what is.”), others have praised it for its “sense of urgency that makes you want to educate yourself, donate money, or help in clean-up efforts”.  As always, the vast majority have projected scepticism; Fast Company mused, “Who does this make you loathe more, BP or the fashion industry?”