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Controversy Bubbles Up Over Vogue Italia‘s BP Oil Spill-Inspired Spread

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No matter how you feel about it, Vogue Italia has done a fine job drumming up press for their latest issue. A spread titled “Water & Oil,” photographed by Mr. Controversy himself, Steven Meisel, features model Kristen McMenamy, doused in oil, draped over equally oily rocks and jet black beaches, all while wearing high-end fashion, of course. It’s clearly a nod to the disastrous spill in the Gulf, but it’s led to lots of press asking that age old question, “Is it offensive or is it art?” And with that question, there’s rarely if any consensus. Newsweek and Forbes take a hands off approach in their commentary, leaving it up to you decide. Outlets like the Miami New Times and Fast Company both fall in the negative camp, the former saying, “Fashion in the past few decades has started to confuse itself with serious art” and “most times when they do they have little to say beyond glamorizing the aesthetic of tragedy.” As far as we’ve been able to find, there aren’t any overtly positive reviews yet, but we’re sure they’re out there or will follow the outrage. While you start figuring out where you land on the subject, here’s some behind-the-scenes video of the shoot:

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