Not just skin deep...
Now here's something you don't see everyday: a fashion magazine making a political statement. But then again, not every fashion magazine is Vogue Italia, known in the industry for its genuinely creative vision. Its primary photographer, Steven Meisel, is reowned for his artistic direction and his biting visual satire and social commentary when he's at his sharpest.
October's issue features Meisel's editorial, "State of Emergency," which takes aim at security measures taken under the Bush administration in the United States. Models are posed as being dragged from their cars with guns pointed at their heads, stripping down for airport security, and so forth; it's clear in these photos that there's a sense of overblown panic and the authorities are using excessive force (perhaps even abusing their authority?).
Now, of course, security measures and arrests aren't the be-all and end-all of the culture of fear that President George W. Bush is spreading, but they're two of the most graphic parts of it. And airport security checks, in their current incarnation, does impact regular people, as well as industry, in a major way. It's not quite Abu Ghraib (although the pictures may be taking a step in that direction, too, in terms of the treatment of those being arrested), and wiretapping is a difficult subject matter to get... fashion-y about, but the point is well made.
My only real nitpick, naturally, is that the targets of force are all Caucasian women, which certainly deviates from what's happening in reality. But then again, that's where we can't forget that this is a fashion spread whose real purpose is to shill the clothes. But the fact that they're taking on this topic is quite bold.
Also interesting to note is that this comes from an Italian publication. American Vogue would never allow something as incendiary as this on its pages.
Need convincing? Here are a couple of selected photographs from the editorial. Click on the image for the full size, or click on the link above to see the full set.