The March issue of Vogue Italia, featuring Joan Smalls on the cover, features a new Steven Meisel spread entitled “Over the Top,” which focuses on how overstyling can mess any look up, no matter what its paired with. I didn’t think an MCM bag could look so bad, until I saw this spread!
I have to admit, as I looked through the spread, I got a bit disturbed by the captions I read. I noticed that the A Haute Mess, draws a very close parallel to the infamous – and rather exploitative, website ‘hotghettomess’ which depicts photos of individuals who, if you’ve ever seen the site, look just like the models from this spread (maybe not as light and skinny). No doubt that thre are people out there that are a hot mess (I talk about them constantly), but I have an issue with the word “ghetto” and get very defensive and protective when used in a way to describe something that looks – for lack of better words – “a mess.” Are all “messes” from the ghetto? We could go into the archives of many “messes” in pop culture and find out that not everyone comes from whatever society calls the ghetto.. Bjork wearing a swan? Lil’ Jon with gold fronts (do your research)?? Katy Perry and Kelly Osbourne with blue hair? Last time I checked, Kelly came from a huge mansion with a skull on the door.. not quite the ghetto.
I am a fan of Steven Meisel, and usually love all things Vogue Italia, but I couldn’t get past the caption of the spread and all it seemed to represent. I also understand that the word “ghetto” was not once used in the spread, but the parallels are very evident.
What do you think? Should this be taken for fashion face value only?