Saturday, April 5, 2014

Off/On Topic: Vogue Italia's "Horror Movie", by Steven Meisel

Controversial? Perhaps.
Necessary? Yes.

Vogue Italia is one fashion magazine that does not shy away from controversy. The publication has often been criticised for glamourising taboo subjects such as racism, and even fetishizing certain native cultures. So what have they come under scrutiny this time?

Depicting images of domestic violence against women. 

Famed fashion photographer Steven Meisel shot the cover and spread for Vogue Italia's May 2014 issue, in which an array of female models are seen in a number of slasher film-type situations, being terrorized by a man with a knife, covered in blood, or even dead.

What some have apparently called inappropriate and unnecessary, I would say is quite the opposite. Franca Sozzani, the magazine's editor-in-chief, has defended the spread, stating that "Violence towards women has never been so hard-hitting as it is now, so reminiscent of a 'real horror show'... The intent is in no way to shock, but rather to raise awareness of a horror that must be condemned!".

Critics have attested that there is no reason for a glossy fashion magazine to tackle these types of universal problems, but really, why on Earth would they not? Fashion does not need to be frivolous. Those who work in the fashion industry, as well as those who follow it, are just as concerned about these matters as the people outside of the industry. Countless fashion designers have been known to raise awareness about the problems that people face in the world through their work, so why can't magazines do the same? 

Sozzani further states: "We always consider fashion to be something, let's say, superficial. For me, it's a pity, because fashion can have so many kinds of expressions. It's not only about clothes, it's not only about one dress. If it was only about that, it would be boring."

If anything, the magazine should be applauded for shedding light on this subject, not be condemned for it.

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