Today Vogue released an editorial from their February issue “celebrating Hurricane Sandy’s first responders.” In it, top models like Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss and Liu Wen pose in looks by American designers (an Oscar de la Renta ballgown, a silk Donna Karan gown, a leather jacket from Proenza Schouler) next to Con-Ed employees, members of the National Guard, and the staff of the neonatal intensive care-unit at Bellevue hospital.
At first glance, the story made us feel a bit icky. Residents of New York and New Jersey are still suffering in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. Juxtaposing a beautiful young model in a thousand dollar designer dress against Con-Ed workers and nurses seems, well, somewhat off.
But is the story, shot by Annie Leibovitz, glamorizing a tragedy or is it just Vogue’s way of recognizing the storm and honoring those who helped out?
It should be noted that Vogue did spearhead efforts to raise $1.7 million for Sandy relief. And that the captions under each photograph in the editorial contain moving quotes from the first responders the story aims to celebrate.
But whatever Vogue’s intention with the story, reader reactions have been mixed. The story has received over 2500 likes on Vogue‘s Facebook so far, with comments ranging from “Love It!” and “Industrial Chic! “ to “Ridiculous…bad taste….” and “I don’t understand this one.” Some commenters even went as far as to make suggestions as to how Vogue should have treated Sandy. “Should have dressed the workers up in designer clothes and photographed them instead. This just seems to be marketing off of their suffering and hard work. They should be the stars. Kinda tasteless,” wrote Angela Aurelio.
Head over to Vogue.com for the rest of the spread. Where do you stand?