I have long ago commented that Franca Sozzani’s choices for Vogue Italia are that stir up the most controversy amongst the A-list fashion world.First it was Vogue Italia featuring only black models in 2008,then shifted to another field of controversy with plus-size models in lingerie on the cover in 2011 and went on..
The first time that the magazine,and Sozzani herself were forced to present explanations on ”fashionising” an event of the news ‘agenda’ was with the Steven Meisel editorial titled ”Water and Oil” right after the BP oil spill (featuring model Kristen McMenamy drenched in oil) and now,to April’s 2014 editorial titled ”Horror Story” , shot again by Steven Meisel. The editorial seemed to fit in the overall ”cinematic” concept of the issue (having clear references to horror films such as ”Psycho” and ”The Ring”) still,there was something disturbing in it.It was pretty much obvious that it glamourized and thus sexualized the idea,the perception of domestic violence.In defense of the magazine’s editorial,Franca Sozzani explained that:“We sell the dream because we are a magazine… But at the same time, we can give people the opportunity to have a voice, for awareness. It’s not about provocation, at all,”.
Now,what makes the whole idea look dangerous and cheap at the same time is that domestic violence has been a serious issue long ago before Mrs Sozzani stating in her ”Independent” interview that she was ‘‘inspired by the still-rising rates of domestic violence in Italy and beyond”. However, the case of Mr Pistorius, a clear case of brutal domestic violence (with no glamour and Miu Miu’s) have made headlines not long time ago and caused a stirr- with the trial still ongoing. See a link here? The idea is fresh in people’s mind, it sells,now lets transform the appalling into fantasy and in the long run,into profit (aka sales).Controversy equals figures for Vogue Italia,especially at a point when its ‘rival’ Vogue US was dealing with all the critique Anne Wintour’s cover featuring Kim Kardashian and Kanye West has caused.
The spread is called ”Horror Story” and accompanied by a film of equally harsh aesthetics.Lacking finesse and perhaps,shame, the editorial works on the usual Vogue Italia pattern of ”creating controversy” , certain that it will cause a stirr. But,is causing a web stirr enough for raise sells or see people renewing their subscriptions?I don’t think so.Its unconvincing, both artistically and in terms of communicating a clear message,especially with the Pistorius case fresh and still shocking.And that’s why i think its basically dangerous, in its naivety.