Taste. It has become a dying virtue. Unfortunately, sensationalism and shock value are what companies are turning to for focus. The sad part is, it’s working. I am guilty, but I wanted to touch on the topic and, maybe, encourage a dialogue.
Vice launched a short lived ad campaign entitled, “Last Words.” Seven models were shot in various poses that depicted the suicide of females authors. One model is dressed as Sylvia Plath and shown kneeling in front of a gas oven. Another model shown as Sanmao, who hung herself with stockings, holds a noose around her neck. A Virginia Woolf model wades into water to drown herself. A third, who resembles Iris Chang, is depicted with a gun in her mouth.
Distasteful? Yes. The brand has since pulled the images and issued this statement:
“Last Words” is a fashion spread featuring models reenacting the suicides of female authors who tragically ended their own lives. It is part of our 2013 Fiction Issue, one that is entirely dedicated to female writers, photographers, illustrators, painters, and other contributors.
The fashion spreads in VICE Magazine are always unconventional and approached with an art editorial point-of-view rather than a typical fashion photo-editorial one. Our main goal is to create artful images, with the fashion message following, rather than leading.
“Last Words” was created in this tradition and focused on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren’t cut tragically short, especially at their own hands. We will no longer display “Last Words” on our website and apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended.
This brings me to my questions…is there really such a thing as bad press? Is there a limit when it comes to “art” and interpretation of beauty/fashion? The brand obviously got the attention they wanted. Was it worth it? Does something like this effect your choices when shopping?