Photoshop can do crazy things, eh? Like modify Vogue Italia September cover girl Stella Tennant's waist to a freakishly small 13 inches, for instance. Normally I'd immediately hate on the mag for pulling something like this. I'd criticize them for portraying an unrealistic expectation of what "beauty" really looks like. After all, women everywhere admire these slender shadows of nothing!
But there's more to this story than meets the eye.
The shoot is a tribute to the late Ethel Granger, the woman who held the Guinness Book record for the smallest waist in the world. Vogue's model commemorates both her slender size and her taste in body jewelry, with her not-so-average nose ring.
The point of this photo isn't to get you to flip through the pages and see who designed the model's black frock. No one's going to buy it. The look makes a statement. See the phrase "avant-garde" up there? Avant-garde is all about pushing the boundaries and experimenting. Vogue is playing around a bit here. And if you look at the cover next to a photo of Granger, you'd see exactly where they were going with this. That's why I don't find anything wrong with it.
It would also be another thing if there were a spread inside the pages of Vogue Italia showing me how to make my waist 13 inches around. Oh gosh, can you imagine?! That's a confidence-killer for sure, just like if a teen magazine instructed girls how to stuff their bras! Thankfully, Vogue didn't push it in that direction. I don't think they'd stoop that low, especially because proportions like those in the Tennant photo are so over-the-top unrealistic.
In a way, I'd even go out on a limb and say this picture has a unique beauty to it. While paying tribute to Granger, it's also channeling a Victorian Gothic vibe that I totally dig. But the scissors in her hand? I'm not gonna lie. Those creep me out.
What do you think of Vogue Italia's September cover?
Image via Vogue Italia