• Mon, Feb 6 2012

Fashion Cliché: Models Grocery Shopping In Designer Clothes

You know what sounds like a good idea for a striking, funny, provocative fashion editorial? Imagine a beautiful model… wearing outlandish couture, flowing caftans, immaculately tailored sheath dresses… while buying groceries in a supermarket. Yes, a regular old, garden-variety supermarket. The most mundane of environs. Wouldn’t that be camp? And tongue-in-cheek? In fact, the whole idea of juxtaposing couture opulence with menial tasks is just so rich!

And that’s what we should have thought last week, when we saw this Jean-François Campos-lensed cover shoot for Vogue Latin America starring Constance Jablonksi. But we didn’t.

We looked at the editorial and all we could think was… didn’t Steven Meisel already do one like this? Didn’t Steven Klein? Didn’t they do the same thing in Russian Vogue? Or was that Korean Vogue? (Answer: both) This trope has been done to death.

This is perhaps the biggest problem with fashion magazines (setting aside the, uh, many other problems): that one will alight on a good idea and the rest of them will follow suit. This tendency to recycle is partly a byproduct of the punishing output expected of top photographers… and partly because fashion magazines don’t care near as much about originality as they claim to.

So this idea of a beautiful young model wearing thousands of dollars in designer clothing while perusing the cereal aisle may seem fresh and lightly humorous at first, but it’s actually just a rehashing of old ideas. Making matters worse is that fashion editorials are effectively curated advertisements, so what we have here is nothing more than an ad you’ve seen before.

Oh! And because fashion loves leaden satire, some of the humor derives from the sight of a strikingly thin model with a shopping! cart! full! of! food!

…This, of course, has no impact on the all caps gushing in comment threads across the internet.

Sure, a lot of the following photos are great–the Meisel spread is unsurprisingly lovely and the Klein ed has a black humor to it. But when the “fancy dress amidst Chef Boyardee” faux-irony makes it into the pages of American Elle and stars Taylor Swift, you know it’s lost its edge.

As they say, it’s not subversive when it’s fucking everywhere. Let’s have a look.

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  • Anna

    I thought EXACTLY THE SAME THING. I was on FGR last week and looking at the Vogue Latin America shoot going, “Where have a scene this before?!” The answer was apparently “everywhere.”

    Exhaustive work, Cardiff.

  • Freyd

    While it’s not exactly original to point out that fashion has no originality, it’s pretty surprising just how many times this has been done.

  • Elle

    Ugh gross. Anorexic girl buys food in $10,000 outfit. GREAT idea.

  • Steph

    It’s a boring idea to begin with.

  • Frankie

    This kind of fuckery is pretty much why I stopped reading fashion magazines.

  • Kate Messinger

    There is something mesmerizing about it. When I first see one of these shoots (every few months, or days?) I can’t help but be into it, something about fruit and model skin under florescent lighting makes me WANT IT. But seeing all these together, there are maybe only one or two that have any sort of creativity or depth. Thank you for taking my mind out of the black hole that is pretty girls with cantaloupes and for forcing me to start thinking critically, for once.

  • MM

    …is she smoking in a grocery store?? You can do that?