Historically, Vanity Fair has done an amazing job of collaborating with photographers and stylists to create gorgeous photographic spreads with narrative depth and a rich, almost painterly qualities. (The typography has been disappointing of late but perhaps that will be addressed in a future post.)
In the issues that arrived today I was dismayed to see these two spreads — Prada and Burberry — presenting large groups of models forming unified confronting human walls of “bitch Face”.
Contempt has always been the theater and template for cosmetics and fashion photography. A method to degrade and humiliate consumers into purchasing products in an attempt to win over the approval of all those dismissive glares that come bundled with every issue.
These spreads actually combine the contemptuous assuault with the non-verbal narrative you see so often on the covers of rap and rock CDs: “the ambush”.
An insidious two prong attack.