High fashion photography often pushes the limit of shock value, to the extent that it draws flak for being ‘distasteful’ or ‘insensitive.’ The buzz over a recent suicide-themed editorial by a American magazine has raised the question— how far would a brand go to attract attention?
A fashion photo series, Last Words, by the Vice Magazine recreated the scenes of famous female writers in the act of committing suicide. The recreations include poet Sylvia Plath kneeling in front of an oven, author Dorothy Parker holding her bleeding wrists to a sink and historical writer Iris Chang holding a gun to her mouth. What seems to have irked the readers was that each photo was captioned with the fashion credits for the models’ outfit.
Though the spread was pulled off from the web and the magazine issued an apology, the internet audience was quick to lambast the fashion feature with comments such as ‘The #Vice suicide fashion pictures — outrage is a tactic, let’s hope this one backfires’ and ‘Glamourising death. Poor judgment #Vice.’
The fash frat in the city are however divided on this controversial issue. Designer Anupama Dayal feels that the shoot is in bad taste, "I believe fashion should make one feel good about ourselves. Suicide and mocking mental health issues that led to this tragedy is not fashion," says Anupma. However, Gaurav Gupta appreciates the thought behind the shoot by saying, "I think it is very interesting. Fashion reflects our culture, embraces the good and bad. People should accept that the human life is surreal."