Here’s the deal: You may have seen the 22-page portfolio Steven Meisel shot for W‘s September 2011 issue. The editorial features black and white “before” and “after” shots of big-name models like Raquel Zimmermann, Jessica Stam, Karen Elson and Carolyn Murphy. The story was a big get for the mag, considering Meisel had never worked with W before. Thing is, Meisel produced a strikingly similar editorial for Vogue Italia‘s August issue.
WWD noticed the nearly identical spreads, and has it from a source that Meisel may have financed the Italian Vogue shoot on W’s dime. Neither W nor Steven Meisel has commented on the issue, however a fallout–or at least a fault line–is bound to happen soon.
While there are differences–Vogue Italia‘s shoot features only Raquel Zimmermann dressed up and dressed down, and was styled by Karl Templer, while W‘s editorial features different models (including Zimmermann) and was styled by Edward Enninful–the concept is essentially the same, juxtaposing images of models in their rougher, more natural state with images of them after hair and makeup.
It’s possible that Meisel was unaware the shoots would look so identical once published, since the photographer would have no control of how the images were laid out. Still, this is certainly a disappointment from the once-groundbreaking photographer.