Water, Oil and Wow

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oil, dirt and expensive garments is not usually a mix that would appeal to most fashion stylists, but this shoot is truly something different altogether.  I just came across this fascinating and somewhat disturbing photoshoot on http://www.fashionising.com/ and had to share it with you.  It was shot for Vogue Italia's August issue by renowned photographer Steven Meisel and features striking veteran model Kristen McMenamy, who has always been a favourite of mine.

The shoot has come under fire in the mainstream media for glorifying the recent BP oil spill, the major point of contention being Kristen playing dead as a victim of the oil spill on the shoreline.  I had mixed feelings about this shoot at first, it's obviously stunningly exquisite photography but more than that I now see that it's putting a human face on this tragedy, which we have so far mostly just seen as photos of oil-covered birds etc.  Let's face it fashion isn't about saving lives or world peace, but it does have the ability to make social commentary and I think this evocative and compelling imagery definitely does that. 

Interestingly enough the 'seaweed' draped around Kristen's neck in the second shot is actually a proper necklace made from recycled inner tubes sourced from the Gulf Coast. The designer is eco-artist Kathleen Nowak Tucci of My Sister's Art who had this to say about the shoot "I never considered this glamourized. I though it was disturbing and thought provoking and utterly fasinating in it's interpretation of the struggle for survival. It is controversial and interpretative which is indicative of great artistic expression. I am honored to have my work included in this small way toward the significant artistic vision of Steven Meisel and Karl Templer."

Images from Fashionising
Quote from NY Mag

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