Shocking Chic: Oil spills into fashion

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For the fashion world, the word shocking is usually reserved for an anorexic model or heavily photoshopped images. But Vogue Italia recently gave shocking a new meaning when it published a fashion photospread inspired by the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s the cover: 

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What you see inside are some stark images, some close to being very disturbing. The photos (shot by Steven Meisel) project a poisonous atmosphere, and in one picture, model Kristen McMenamy is seen regurgitating contaminated water. Not for the faint-hearted.

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Speaking Chic tracked down a friend in the US who feels passionately about the oil spill and its cover-up. “The images are truly haunting,” she said over email. “But it’s a good thing, because this is going to put the oil spill on a world stage for everyone to see. Some of the pictures make you feel the anger that most of us environment-lovers felt in the aftermath of the spill.”

We also also asked Mumbai-based photography buff Pradnya for her reactions. “Most of the pictures are in low key which well describe the mood. Unfortunately, the repetitive long shots sometimes lose focus. Yet, some of the photos do justice to the seriousness of the issue. The close-up picture of the model is a great capture, with a nice blend of fear and shock. I think some of the pictures hit hard, but all of them capture the essence of the disaster.”

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For those who still want to know about the fashion in the shoot, check out the Vogue Italia site or watch this behind-the-scenes video.

Speaking Chic says: The next time someone says “fashion is frivolous”, please show them this photo feature. While these photographs will not reverse the damage caused, they make a poignant statement on the environmental and human impact of the spill. By showing a human in such a toxic setting, the magazine has brought to the fore what several upper-class people (Vogue readers) may have brushed under the carpet. We wonder what Tony Hayward would have to say about this one.

What do you think of Vogue Italia’s BP oil spill-inspired photo shoot? Tell us!

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