You didn't think Franca Sozzani would just gloss over the growing controversy over Karlie Kloss' Steven Meisel-shot editorial, right? The always outspoken EIC of Vogue Italia has taken to her blog today to address what she's calling "The Truth About Karlie Kloss and Steven Meisel Photos."
She specifically talks about the photo--you know, the one that mysteriously disappeared from Vogue Italia's website, the one with Karlie's abs of steel contorted such that they caused an internet commotion last week, with many people calling either "anorexia" or "photoshop."
According to Sozzani, it was neither. She denied that the shoot was "overly photoshopped" and added that photographic 'distortion' techniques developed by Man Ray are responsible for the exaggerated angles in the shoot.
As for the anorexia claims, Sozzani is staunchly in support of Kloss' healthy body image saying, "Not only Karlie is not anorexic but [she] has a muscular body with a rounded contour...to hush everyone up on this matter it will be enough to know that she was picked by Victoria’s Secret...[who] would never use an anorexic model as this would clash with their philosophy."
So why did Sozzani take down the image?
"I did not remove the first picture from the site because I thought it set a bad example due to its thinness, but because I am aware of the fact that people can easily attach labels without thinking, so I believed I could avoid a pointless debate. I made a mistake. I had to do what I thought was right, that is leave the picture and let everybody express their opinion freely. The picture is beautiful and that’s all."
Of course, that last bit is somewhat confusing (or badly translated--a problem for Vogue.it in the past) because the image in question has not yet been added back to the editorial posted on Vogue Italia's website, but it seems that Sozzani wishes she had never taken it down.
We feel for Sozzani (and Meisel and Kloss) who seems to have unwittingly gotten herself into hot water in genuine pursuit of a beautiful (if provocative and experimental) editorial. It's a shame when creatives have to stunt their artistic vision because of misconceived notions from the general public, however, when you're a fashion magazine with an international audience, you have to consider the reaction. Because intended or not, these images have the potential for scary results--like when we noticed the Kloss editorial popping up on pro-anorexia sites last week.
So what's an editor in chief to do? Sozzani, who reasserts her position against pro-anorexia sites, has an idea. "I’d rather start photography courses to educate many people who work in this field who don’t know anything about the history of photography." Huh.