Oil & Water

Steven Meisel taps into the timely for Vogue Italia‘s latest editorial; with images reminiscent of those from the Gulf of Mexico crisis, combined with shots of Kristen McMenamy‘s haunting visage, the story speaks volumes about the current environmental crisis. It isn’t unusual for Meisel to reference social issues within his work and this story arrives at the exact right moment. Everything from Mary Howards production design, to the carefully chosen ensembles comes together brilliantly.

How do you feel about this story?

  1. Only she could do this ! its amazing. And i think its about the oil spill. Thats why i love Itlian vogue!

  2. The editorial is great, Kristen McMenamy is one of my favorite iconic model, (also Evangelista) and is such a great thing to see Meisel involved in those enviroment issues, that says a lot of him 🙂

  3. Every once in a while, it’s nice to get a dose of reality along with the fantasy in fashion. This, along with last year’s W cover featuring a sad-faced Linda Evangelista questioning the economic crisis makes me stop and think. I don’t think these types of issues should be commonplace in fashion editorials, but I love them when they are done in a timely, effective manner. It takes very creative minds to pull off these types of shoots. Bravo to everyone involved here, especially Steven Meisel and Kristen McMenamy!

  4. Wow, this hits close to home! Residing in the Fla. Keys, I was actually thinking of shooting this disaster inspired concept myself recently. Meisel brilliantly portrays what might happen to our glorious/fragile eco system.
    And thank god it looks like we may well be spared!

  5. This is so real, so painfully real and so emotional. If this isn’t the best editorial of the year, i don’t it anymore…
    No-one but McMenamy could pull this off.

  6. This is an Oil -based Mess!

    I just see No Beauty in it! A bit Depressing, don’t you think?

  7. im not sure about the effectivity of a fashion editorial concerning an environmental crisis, but SURELY Kristen is one of the few models around that could give life to an editorial like this. Id rather say that actually shes the only one who can pull this off, since some of the other supers lack time or are too spoiled to get an oil bath. Kristen McMenamy rules!

  8. I don’t like it at all. The picture of her coughing up water is the most revolting. I don’t mind when people use fashion to address certain issues (e.g. gay marriage, the economy) but this is just unnecessary. The fact that the main purpose of these photos is to display clothes is what makes it so inappropriate.

  9. Having said that, Kristen is just a modelling genius.

    But an exquisite face like Natalia or Linda, Beautiful and Fragile, will have made this story more…… Vogue with a Social Conscience!

    A classic Beautiful face wash up in Oil! BUT, at least with Linda or Natalia’s Meisel can give us a Glimmer of Hope (Linda’s eyes always Sparkle).

    This one is just downright depression. A mirror of our environment and current state of economy.

  10. I must say…that shot of the gloved hand imitating a bird dripping with oil is freaking genius. Meisel is mad!

  11. Im another one who thinks this really doesnt belong in Vogue Italia, but rather another magazine, its a great editorial but just i dunno something about it just I cant stand. just my opinion though

  12. As others have said, it’s brilliant and haunting. She’s a masterful model. There isn’t anything stiff or inauthentic about her. This is so perfect for her.

  13. The escape of being medicore…the use of photoshop,filters and bunch of kids with cameras…Finaly something real…divine…And finaly a reminder of what a cool fashion editorial should look like…But…in same time wakeup call,awareness…
    Who is the stylist in this story?
    Vive Meisel!!! The best editorial of the new decade. Thank you models.com for posting this glorious piece of ART

  14. It feels belaboured and too literal. My favorite shots are of her oily face and the gloved hand that resembles a dying bird. I like the idea of looking at a very solemn yet topical (dare I say fashionable) news item being used as the subject of a fashion editorial…I think that is subversive and shocking in the tradition of most great fashion photography.

    But the shots of her washed up on the shore are just too heavy handed. There should be a stronger tension between the beauty of the textures shapes and compostion and the sinister subject matter. I almost wish that the pictures had been taken in the actual oil spill amidst real suffering animals. That would have been shocking, that would have been controversial, that would have been taking it all the way. This feels like its halfway.

    Maybe even in a more conventional fashion magazine like cosmo this would be a jolt. But Vogue Italia readers are, I feel, a pretty sophisticated bunch, and do maintain an awareness of events ocurring outside of fashion. The content of the message does not correspond to the intelligence of the audience

  15. i mean really… “this speaks volumes” what volumes does it speak, exactly?

    Is the editorial implicating BP?
    Is it implicating a news cycle which inevitably treats disasters the way Vogue treats hemlines- in fashion one second out of fashion the next?
    Is Steven Miesel comparing 40 yar old models to slime covered pelicans?
    It could do one, or all of these things, but instead chooses to go the lazy sanctimonious route and give us Kristen looking all gooey and tragicly heroic.

    overall this whole spread is about as disingenuous as Naomi Campbell with a fist full of blood diamonds

  16. beautiful and thought-provoking photos.
    curious to see more. and to see a video.

    they remind me of veruschka’s body painting photos from the 60’s & 70’s – she deserves a lot of credit for all the amazing work she did.

  17. Interesting. I like that it is something very new. This is not only taking a nice sexy good position. But actually putting a serious meaning. Now i like model stuff >.<

  18. i love how they show mcmanemy in her beautiful clothes as the beautiful birds being killed by the oil. i love the concept. i love how vogue italia stands up for the environment and i love the pictures itselves anyway 🙂

  19. @PeterModelObsessed : I don’t think the viewer deserves to be spoon-fed any hope. Why do people always crave a happy ending?

    I think a fashion magazine is the PERFECT place to make a statement like this, as so many people who read Vogue are so obsessed with material things and image, a reality check once in awhile won’t go astray.

  20. Couldn’t agree with you more, Eamon. And out of a gazzilion fashion editorials out there, I say KUDOS to Meisel and company for having the courage to do something different than the redundant half-naked Kate Moss or a bunch of girls jumping around in American Vogue. It’s not like editorials such as “Oil and Water” are done on a regular basis. Therefore, for me, anyway, it’s a treat.

  21. Though strong imagery, I somehow doubt is the message will be past through without the descriptions and news they release on the website. Despite from the last image, the rest of them seems to be like a documentary of a woman after war,


  22. finally someone smart and creative highlighted such a profound issue in such a fashionable way!!! 😉 kudos!!!


  24. Yes.. the gloved hand is better than the other pics. Genius.

    The one where she’s coughing up water is a little too much though, I know Meisel wants to “make a point” maybe and take fashion photography to another level, but that one’s just.. ugh.

    He certainly knew who to cast when doing this, I doubt it would’ve worked with Karlie or Mirte.

  25. Pretty odd to reach this kind of conclusion, but with Meisel happens the same happened here with Kate, Naomi & “Lady something” (Gaga…) i-D covers comments: opinions are somehow based on matters of principle.
    I have the weird impression Meisel has become “Lady Meisel”! haha or something like that… *_*’ we’re at the point you like him or not – and so his works. Briefly: signature is more important than the painting…

    Personally: good concept (even if nothing to do with a serious social issue reflection), metatextually successful (“create shock” – or something like that…), but about shots… I’d expect something more. Title design (with dripping oil photoshopped – not in these pics) is AN UNBEARABLE PANTOMIME: simply dreadful.


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