Vogue: Late Bloomers

Posted on July 20, 2011

No sense in being coy about it, we think this is one weird editorial. Composed around the idea of highlighting the floral and botanical details in the fall collections, the garden setting makes sense. But the creepy stalking gardener? What’s that all about?


“Late Bloomers”
Raquel Zimmerman for Vogue, August 2011
Photographed by Steven Klein
Styled Camilla Nickerson
Hair by Garren for Garren New York Salon, Makeup by Stéphane Marais.

Sportmax Fall 2011 Collection/Models: Samantha Gradoville/Shu Pei Qin

Mary Katrantzou Fall 2011 Collection/Model: Kelli Lumi

Givenchy Fall 2011 Collection/Model: Mariacarla Boscono (VIVA)

Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 Collection/Models: Sigrid Agren (ELITE)/Maddie Kulicka

Lanvin Fall 2011 Collection/Model: Freja Beha Erichsen (IMG)

Love the clothes; not in love with the styling (she looks like a clinically depressed Lucy Ricardo), and the muted tones hanging over everything seems like an odd choice for a garden theme. Congratulations, Vogue. You managed to make flowers seem depressing and threatening.

 

[Image Credit: Tarsha via thefashionspot.com, style.com]

    • Anonymous

      This is pretty offensive, playing into the American stereotype of the “scary black man.” Anna Wintour should be ashamed. 

      • Anonymous

        I agree.  This is racist and offensive.  And creepy.  And depressing.  It’s hard to even notice the clothes for all of the things that are wrong with the editorial approach, what with the gloomy fog hanging over the pics and the sad expression on the model’s poorly made-up face. It’s just all wrong.

        • Anonymous

          I’m with you. Both of you.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

            I agree as well. Can’t believe this made it past the editorial board.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T24URKJGBLJQPBWCRPU37IIHLU Krab Louse

        You mean the AMERICAN stereotype of the “scary black man.”  The rest of the world doesn’t care.  I’m sitting in London right now and that thought didn’t even cross my mind.  Maybe it’s time for some “self-analysis” there, sweetheart.

        • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

          The rest of the world most certainly does care. Britain and the rest of Europe are hardly immune to racism and stereotypes, though they manifest differently based on culture and social mores. I quoted the following in another reply, but I think it is important to note it: “If people of color were represented well across the industry, and in such photo shoots, I would never have thought twice about it. But because most shoots are overflowing with porcelain-skinned waifs, the use of a black man to portray a gardener skulking outside of windows seems so horribly wrong.”

          There’s no reason to be condescending and rude to someone aware of what this editorial can–and does–communicate to any number of people. To suggest that someone needs to analyze themselves (or as you not-so-subtly imply, analyze their own racism) because of what they perceive in this editorial (and as you should be able to tell from the comments here, it is something many people picked up on) is insulting. Just as it is fine that you didn’t consider how this editorial might come across, it is also fine that someone perceived racist overtones. And to suggest that racism is somehow limited just to America, or that such stereotypes don’t exist elsewhere, is silly–and absolutely, wholly untrue.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Harris/729969026 Richard Harris

            I understand your points but I’m still glad my gut reaction didn’t project ideas of race onto this editorial for whatever reason, and just saw it as the surface of a juicy story about two people. If I’m somehow disconnected from ideas of political correctness by not immediately noticing the race aspect I actually feel like I’m better off.

        • scottyf

          I don’t know if you self-identify as a person of color–you may; but I must say that the tone of your post is something I read more often in someone of European descent.  Someone who may be desensitized to the effects of White Privilege.

          My friends of color who live in Great Britain–London in particular–speak quite often of their experiences involving racism. These are people of African, Caribbean, and Middle-Eastern descent.  All have personal stories which include everything from everyday encounters to media portrayals.  That doesn’t mean that England isn’t a wonderful place full of progressive people, it just means that “white” people often have a very different perception of what is racist behavior to someone of color.

          Remember, the slave trade and it’s cultural ramifications weren’t simply an American phenomenon. European countries were involved as well.

          Maybe, you too could benefit from a little self-analysis.

          • Anonymous

            Scotty I love you.

            • Anonymous

              Me, too! Preach, Scotty!

          • Anonymous

            Can I say how much I adore you and this comment. 

          • Anonymous

            Good post.
            Yes of course the slave trade was not an entirely American phenomenon, there are links even with my home town of Glasgow which was built on tobacco and sugar trade (and on the flipside, many of the earliest slaves were Scots and Irish – until they discovered they just died in the heat!). But the American experience of it and legacy from it gives a completely different cultural background to Europe. Of course there is racism here in the Europe, and it’s mostly centred on the fear and hatred that accompanies various waves of immigration.There is also a huge sectarianism issue here, long histories of subjugation and abuses and centuries old grudges between nationalities. And those issues vary immensely between countries, between Scotland and England, let alone between the UK and say Germany, or Italy. So yes, It exists quite definitely but with a different historical context. So I think you’re right in that we probably don’t always ‘see’ racism, but perhaps that’s because we’re muddied up with a parcel of other social prejudices that maybe don’t exist in the same way in the US where you’ve had a huge, defining fight to crystallise your viewpoints. I think there is an error often not putting these editorials into their context. I find this one rather uncomfortable because it is US Vogue so I think the racism accusation is perfectly justified. However I’ve noticed in various Italian Vogue posts that people do tend to forget to take any account of a different cultural context. We all see things filtered through our own experience and background and so it never hurts to give a thought to whether a thing was inspired by different ones and take that into account, maybe something many of us are guilty of forgetting to do no matter where we’re from.

            • Anonymous

              I think if the scary gardener had been a ‘chav’ (that’s UK slang for a poor, tacky, dressed-in-designer-rip-off-sportsgear person) we’d notice a ‘working class’ stereotype much more readily. The ‘scary black man’ stereotype didn’t cross my mind, either. I know prejudice against black people is a big deal in the UK but I think our more visible prejudices lie in other areas, e.g classism and anti-semitism.

            • Anonymous

              …uh…not sure why my comment has appeared as ‘object object’, – I don’t object to your comment! Computers are a total mystery to me.

            • Anonymous

              Yes exactly. Although I don’t see ant-semitism as being a very big issue in the UK outwith greater London. Not up here anyway, but then this little island varies hugely from place to place.
              Make the gardener a traveller and that would make it a whole other thing in the UK.

        • http://profiles.google.com/valencia.lucia87 Lucía Valencia

          Im starting to think that Krab Louse is becoming the official T. Lo’s official troll. As I said before: RELAX!

        • Anonymous

          My self-analysis has nothing to do with an anonymous black man in the background watching this white woman. Sweetheart. :) This is American Vogue, I checked that before I commented, because I realize race is seen differently in other countries. 

        • Gaby Haas

          Well I thought nearly the same, I thought: “Why is the gardener black?”. I didn’t think: “Ah yes, the creepy scary gardener must be black.” This thought didn’t cross my mind too.

          I’m living in a part of the world where 95 percent of the people aren’t black. In my acquaintance there is but one girl from Panama, the rest is white – not blond and white, but not-black. When I look outside my window or go on the street, there no black people. So I looked at the editorial, could identify with the woman (except from not being that thin and having these clothes and so on, but you get the picture) and was for a short moment puzzled when I saw that the gardener was black because that meant that the situation that was pictured was not in my area. Then I remembered that it was the US Vogue and it made sense again.
           
          This doesn’t mean european people are no racists. This means that I don’t have the link in my head saying “Scary black gardener” when I see a black gardener. Instead I have the link “That situation must be far away in another country”. Which was the case.

          And after I read the comments, I agree that this editorial has a racist tendency. It’s not appropriate to confirm a cliché  like this that seems to be in the heads of the readers in the country it was printed for. Did Ms. Wintour do this just for the turmoil?

        • http://twitter.com/the_angelone Jill Angelone

          I certainly didn’t make the connection to this so-called “scary black man” American stereotype either. I do think that the editorial was poorly executed but I can kind of see where they’re going. I saw it as more of a “I’m an over privileged rich woman who has fallen in love with the lower class gardener” thing (a classic romance class struggle of sorts). I think they were trying to take the whole “forbidden romance” idea and make it a little more modern. Yes, they didn’t necessarily have to choose a black man but I think the intention was innocent.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t even notice he was black until you mentioned it! Not sure what that means….stalking gardener is weird, not matter what ethnicity.

        • Anonymous

          I didn’t either.
          It’s possible that they saw a lot of different models and they just liked this guy best. We don’t know that they said we need a dangerous type, therefore we need a black man. I really hate unfounded accusations of racism.

          • Anonymous

            Racism is not only real when it is intentional. If you (generalyou, nozt you personaly) make an editorial that feeds into the “scary black sexual predator”- stereotype, in a country in which innocent black men were lynched because of falseaccusations of raping white women- that is racist.

            You don’t have to have racist intentions. It is enough that your privilege kept you from even thinking about the implications of what you were doing- and you din’t have to think about it, because you will not be the one to suffer the consequences. Raceism is prejudiceplus power. Intent may make it worse, but is not required.

            • http://phdoula.blogspot.com Rebecca

              “You don’t have to have racist intentions. It is enough that your
              privilege kept you from even thinking about the implications of what you
              were doing- and you din’t have to think about it, because you will not
              be the one to suffer the consequences. Raceism is prejudiceplus power.
              Intent may make it worse, but is not required.”

              YES. THIS.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you TheOriginalLulu for your comments. I completely agree, I’m astounded by the comments here.
            I thought I was the only one.

            Because the gardener happens to be black he is automatically the ‘scary black man’?
            It’s not like he is lurking in the shadows, he is in full view watering the lawn.

            Perhaps I am not culturally aware as i should, but I don’t think people should throw around the words racism or racist so liberally. These are serious accusations and something like this cannot be compared to malicious racist acts or people.

            I feel this type of hypersensitivity is troubling. Its not as damaging as racism, but its pretty close.

            I also understand that fashion editorials do not feature ethnic models as much as they should. Considering there are some stunning Asian, Black, Latino and Native models currently working.

            Should Vogue no longer cast ethnic models in roles of blue collar workers if it causes these kinds of reactions?

          • Anonymous

            Thank you TheOriginalLulu for your comments. I completely agree, I’m astounded by the comments here.
            I thought I was the only one.

            Because the gardener happens to be black he is automatically the ‘scary black man’?
            It’s not like he is lurking in the shadows, he is in full view watering the lawn.

            Perhaps I am not culturally aware as i should, but I don’t think people should throw around the words racism or racist so liberally. These are serious accusations and something like this cannot be compared to malicious racist acts or people.

            I feel this type of hypersensitivity is troubling. Its not as damaging as racism, but its pretty close.

            I also understand that fashion editorials do not feature ethnic models as much as they should. Considering there are some stunning Asian, Black, Latino and Native models currently working.

            Should Vogue no longer cast ethnic models in roles of blue collar workers if it causes these kinds of reactions?

        • http://twitter.com/Megan_Burgess Megan

          Ditto.

      • Anonymous

        Absolutely. And I’d add there’s a long tradition in fashion photography of using black men to represent wildness. Which is also racist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

      Bleak, racist, and without artistic merit. 

      • Judy_J

        My thoughts exactly.

    • http://www.joannao.blogspot.com JoannaOC

      Weird “Far From Heaven” gestures, but as if the gardener were a lurker, not a friend. Ugh.

      • http://onionjam.tumblr.com SkipperJane

        Maybe it’s supposed to symbolize a forbidden romance, a la “Far from Heaven” and “All That Heaven Allows.”  If so, something got lost in translation.  The styling and color story does suggest 1955.  

        • Anonymous

          Yeah I’m Black and I immediately thought of “Far from Heaven” with Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert. Julianne Moore’s character was depressed, dealing with a broken marriage that looked perfect from the outside and she fell in love with her handsome compassionate gardener who was black. I mean Julianne had red hair in the film and everything so it makes sense. 

          Although, they could have brought out the connection between the two a little bit more if that’s what they truly were going for. 

          The way he’s looking at her in the third picture suggests compassion and some care on his part. In the fifth picture, there’s a strong emphasis on his cock lol.  It really is the second picture with his legs planted and his head tilted down that looks menacing. 

          So maybe they’re just being ellusive because they want us to talk about the editorial. 

    • Anonymous

      Ugh, seriously. This is straight up “sexually threatening working-class black man”. There are definitely people out there who will like the editorial for that – but that’s not a GOOD thing. Yuck.

    • Anonymous

      Love the clothes!  Love the Editorial! Oh, and Duh! She’s totally f–king the gardener! It a very discreet Upstairs/Downstairs, Gosford Park arrangement!

    • Sara__B

      Plants vs Zombies.

    • turke970

      I think it’s supposed to look like Bonnard, with the creepy figures in the background and the crazy patterns.

      http://www.artmarketmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Bonnard_le_petit_dejeuner.jpeg
      http://artmodel.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/bonnard.jpg

      Doesn’t explain why he looks like a serial killer in that one, though….

      • Anonymous

        That makes a lot more sense that the racist conspiracy. If people watched The Septenber Issue (documentary), they’d realize that there’s a lot of thought put into these editorials and that they’re somewhat based on films and art. When I saw these my first thought was “I wonder what movie they’re getting their inspiration from?” but now that you’ve linked to those, I’m totally getting it.

        • Anonymous

          I watched The September Issue, and I am not sure how they could be so tone deaf as to create this editorial. People always give the fur-wearing, tone deaf Anna Wintour a break. But they still give the Nazi sympathizer Coco Chanel hero worship, so I guess I’m not surprised. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/thisiscelia Celia

        I agree, I thought of Bonnard paintings too. I kind of love the creepy weirdness, but really it wouldn’t have lessened the impact if they didn’t make the gardener black. They’re being willfully ignorant if they don’t see the racist tones in this shoot.

      • http://profiles.google.com/paigemano Paige Mano

        I definitely see the Bonnard connection there, but I feel like the choice of using a large black man as the “creepy figure” was not in the best taste…

      • Jennifer Moless

        I don’t know that the source matters.  Being inspired by something does not exonerate you from how your editorial will be read and understood by your audience.  It’s hard to believe that everyone at Vogue is so blinded by their privilege that no one noticed the racist, creepy vibe – although I guess I prefer that interpretation to the possibility that people noticed it and didn’t care/thought it was “edgy”.

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree the styling is drab. What a shame, the clothing is beautiful.

    • Anonymous

      i hate the styling. what i keep seeing is a cross between joan crawford and johnny depp’s creepy mad hatter in an equally creepy garden. ick.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2VBWWGHZEBKTVQMXE5SO5NCU2I Mich

      i didn’t even notice the gardener was black! i also got more of a tryst vibe than a serial killer vibe. but the clothes and model look awful

      • Linda Tredennick

        Really? Tryst? All due respect to the subjectiveness of interpretation, but that seems fairly tone-deaf. She isn’t looking at him, and neither is the camera. He’s not in anyway sexualized or romanticized — he doesn’t even have a face! If this does depict some sort of relationship, then it is nearly as offensive, given how dehumanized he is. 

        • http://twitter.com/pinup_ghoul Pinup Ghoul

          I like your use of the word ‘dehumanized’ to describe what’s going on in the editorial. I hadn’t first picked up on the perhaps racist vibe of the editorial until I read some of the comments here, but I can definitely see it.

          Fashion magazines have a way of using people of color as props, don’t they? I’ve noticed it more than once, and the fact that this man isn’t even given a face is disturbing and rather sad… to say nothing of the ‘implied assault’ tone of this particular editorial.

          I don’t know, I’m not a designer, so I can’t speak to the intent of the piece. Maybe their intent was to push the envelope. Maybe it was to make their readers uncomfortable. Maybe the offensive elements were actually chosen innocently and without conscience. Whichever it is, it makes me pretty uncomfortable. It’s a sorrowful editorial, and hard to look at in some ways, which is a shame because I find the clothes to be absolutely beautiful.

      • morrismolly

        Also didn’t notice his race (which doesn’t make me any better than anyone else – but I am usually more of a big picture person and sometimes miss details.)  Anyway – I got a tryst vibe as well.  Like they had a fling going on.  She went prancing by him, then got her knees.  From what you can see of him, he looks really hot.  I think he is going to try to perk her up a little bit.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_35OW6VJZLWTQDQHS4JLRTVC2JA Akumabunny

      Actually, I didn’t get the stalker vibe everyone is commenting on. The first thing I thought of was Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

      • Anonymous

        I was about to say the same thing.

    • Anonymous

      i kinda like it.

    • scottyf

      Well…it is one way to get a Man of Color in a fashion editorial on here.

      And–just so you know–we usually prefer blondes for our Miss Anne/Mandingo encounters.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

        If people of color were represented well across the industry, and in such photo shoots, I would never have thought twice about it. But because most shoots are overflowing with porcelain-skinned waifs, the use of a black man to portray a gardener skulking outside of windows seems so horribly wrong. 

        • scottyf

          Absolutely agree. To be perfectly honest, the editorial doesn’t offend me at all. I think my imagination went to a story more in line with Super Red’s below. However, I also can’t help wonder if I’m so desensitized to our portrayal in the media that it doesn’t anger me any more. In that way, I’m becoming less effective as an advocate for my race and my sex. It’s a little sad, really.

      • MilaXX

        Just when I was trying not to put my Angela Davis hat on. You read my mind.

    • http://twitter.com/rgmx Mercy

      “You managed to make flowers seem depressing and threatening.”  Which is why I completely love this shoot.  Agreed on the racism of the gardener being black though.  Absurd.

      I don’t think we should feign surprise and shock at the racism pervasive in the fashion world though.  The whole industry is built on the profits of what is equivalent to slave labor in equatorial countries. 

    • http://twitter.com/aStudiobytheSea Jody Lee

      Honestly, I think the model is creepier than the gardener.  Fake hair color, excessive make up, satin fabrics in a garden setting makes her look like she stepped out of a space pod.  

    • http://jessieliz.wordpress.com/ Super Red

      It’s racist because the gardener is black? uhm….. okay..

      I definitely got the “something is going on, or they WANT something to be going on” feel from this. With him being the gardener, the flowers are so bleak because, for whatever reason, they can’t be together. It’s not my favorite editorial in the world, but it, at least for me, tells a very distinct story.

    • Anonymous

      Wooza! I haven’t seen a US Vogue editorial I liked this much in a long time. Creepy flowers and hyper real color- I luvz.

    • Sarah Thomas

      Since the gardener is always in the shadow, I didn’t even notice his race. I’m fairly sure he’s meant to be winter, though.

      • Anonymous

        I wasn’t even sure if he was black.  Could be more of a Latino gardener stereotype.

        • Alloy Jane

          Maybe he’s Dominican.  Best of both worlds/stereotypes, eh?  But yeah, I didn’t realized he was black either.  I thought he was a serial killer because of the anonymous creep factor and I expected him to be latino because he’s watering the lawn.  

          I wasn’t offended, though.  Not by the gardener at least.  It’s the hair that gets me.  That awful hair makes my teeth hurt.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Stephens-Bassett/1503492602 Karen Stephens Bassett

      Those creepy hedges make me think of “Redrum, redrum!”  Stephen King, anyone?

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiddlecub Kevin VanOrd

      You know what makes this seem all the more unnatural? The “look-at-me-I’m-wearing-a-wig” wig. Whenever I see a model wearing an obvious wig, I am immediately turned off, unless the styling more than justifies its use. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260924501 Frank Butterfield

      I’m not getting the stalker vibe either.  I don’t care for the model and her “what did I do with the baby” vacuous look.  But I do have a lot of interest in the gardener…

      The tones in the photos remind me of color photography books (how-to guides) that were printed in the 30s and 40s.  They have a quality that looks as though the colors might have been painted on.  They look unreal now that we are all accustomed to natural color tones in movies and photos.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7Q6ZMQT26563JOBUCTF67ADAFM Fuzz

      I’m not sure how I feel about the editorial itself, but I have suspicious about why it was made up as ‘stalker.’ Popular culture fetishizes stalking in a similar way people have rape fantasies. The idea of attraction pulling a person over the accepted limits of human interaction is powerful. In general we edit out the debasing aspects of it, how all concept of respect, of dignity or compassion have to be eroded.

      • sonictofu

        was going to hit “like” but that seemed odd – rather, I agree with your interpretation of the “stalker” thing.  I think it’s supposed to be both(?) creepy and a little perverted. 

    • Anonymous

      Weird. Model has a bit of a “mommy dearest” look too.

      I wish my gardener looked like that!

    • http://twitter.com/ShelfAfterlife Shelf Afterlife

      I can’t wait until Emma Stone finds some place to wear that Mary Katrantzou dress.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      Needs one more photo of her jumping his bones.  Then it’d make sense.

      • Anonymous

        Even creepier, if possible, at least for me. She’s giving off a Koo-koo Lulu vibe that would worry me that her idea of climax requires strong hysterics at least and stab wounds at worst. 

    • Anonymous

      I like it

    • Anonymous

      Gorgeous, especially the prints. Not that you can tell from the editorial.

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      I’m with the people who didn’t get a stalker vibe. I thought it was all about Todd Haynes’ tribute to Douglas Sirk Far From Heaven.

      • Anonymous

        Me, too. Yet at the same time, I was aware that if anyone didn’t get that (if indeed that’s what it is) it runs the risk of playing into racist stereotyping. The fact that he’s always watching her and she’s not interacting with him (unlike in the movie) doesn’t help matters.I love the last dress….I don’t see a credit for it. Am I just not seeing it?

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was the woman in the pictures who is the threat. She appears to be slightly deranged.  He is afraid of her. That’s why he is watching her.

      • Anonymous

        She’s definitely got a Koo-koo Lulu vibe.

    • Anonymous

      Eye of the beholder I guess. I got more that she can’t look him in the eyes because he is so attractive, powerful and forbidden. With her pale skin and red hair, I, too got more Julianne Moore in Far from Heaven than Lucille Ball. I think the shoot is pretty interesting and the clothes pretty darned gorgeous. I can see Cathy Cambridge in the black and white Marc Jacobs.

      • Anonymous

        Ah ha. She’s killed the gay husband. The man in the pictures is the gay husband’s college roommate who has come to the manor house to secretly investigate his death, which occurred under extremely mysterious circumstances. I believe the husband to be buried in the potting shed.

        • Anonymous

          In moments of stress she sings (in oddly childish tones) a jump rope rhyme that drifted over the garden wall from the village children playing there, oblivious to the bizarre scene unfolding nearby as she buried the body.

    • Anonymous

      Editorial reminds me of Tim Burton film.

      Is “cabochon embroidery,” used in the editorial’s text for the Louis Vuitton overcoat, another term for “Fleurchons?”
       
       

    • Anonymous

      The clothes are really cool. Love the fabrics and the peplums (peplums are NOT at all like the weird poking out bits like the last few RC views we’ve been discussing). Peplums are historical and brilliant. 
      The model is just strange looking so I didn’t look at her, but then again I rarely do, being more interested in the clothing. 
      I can’t tell “what” the guy is. We could assume that’s her guy, but since Anna Wintour etc don’t know any men who water their own gardens (except when drunk and not with a garden hose) we have to assume that they would assume we would assume it’s a male of color. In the Hamptons 99% of people standing around watering are Latin American. 
      I agree completely that IF we saw more people of color in high fashion editorial we could allow a male of color as a gardener, but in this case he’s playing the role of, as Scotty said, Mandingo to Miss Anne. 
      Oh PUH Leeze. 

    • Anonymous

      Such overly-busy contrived-looking clothing, yet I can imagine using some pieces to create chic ensembles. The setting just contributes to the overly-busy and falsely-complex feel.

      I don’t know if the black-man-menacing-white-woman trope would have occurred to me if it hadn’t been raised by others. Probably, eventually. But I read the gardener as more gratuitous creepy weirdness in a gratuitously creepy weird general ambiance – and the initial story in *my* head was casting him as the mind-controlled/robotic gardener who stands immobile between tasks.

      Of course, I can’t watch slasher/horror/violence&mysogyny – themed “entertainment,” I find it so unpleasant I literally have to leave the room, so  the library of visual tropes in my head is weak in that area.

    • t b

      i thought it looked like johnny depp’s mad hatter…

    • Anonymous

      Is that a garden hose or are you just happy to see me?

    • Lisa

      Doesn’t the creepy stalking gardner look like some random guy who just accidentally wandered into the shot?  Weird spread, yeah.

    • Anonymous

      The model is so weird (that hair! those grimaces!) and the photo story so bizarre I completely missed the clothing the first time around.

    • http://twitter.com/TaraEAnderson Tara Anderson

      Reminds me a bit of Degas’ paintings of the Paris Opera House, where the ballerinas are in the spotlight and the wealthy patrons lurk in the wings. If you look at most of Degas’ dancer paintings, there is a man in a tuxedo or a suit somewhere in the frame. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

      Aside from being creepy the color palate makes all the clothes look ugly

    • Anonymous

      This is one of the very few editorials where I think the clothes look better on the runway.

    • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

      i actually like the clothes & the color & i think the clothes look better in the editorial than on the models, as per often, as per usual.
      otoh, i think she looks likes the nuts daughter of the house whom the family has instructed all the help to watch.

    • Anonymous

      “Congratulations, Vogue. You managed to make flowers seem depressing and threatening.”

      Maybe they thought it’d be avant garde.

    • MilaXX

      creepy, not cute. I can’t even appreciate the clothes because they pictures are so weird.

    • Anonymous

      The clothes kind of disappear into the bizarro backgrounds. If I were Red, I’d be so worried about the sinister yard guy, I wouldn’t care what I was wearing.

    • John Hixenbaugh

      I love the muted color scheme.  To me, the effect references old Better Homes and Gardens’ “house,” “garden,” and “design” books of the 50′s and 60′s that were filled with handcolored black and white photographs.  In fact, a lot of old garden books are handcolored and that could be the reference.  The bored housewife – “Listen to Beethoven”- Annie Lennox style works for this garden theme.

    • Anonymous

      The model reminds me of Kristen Schaal… which makes the photoshoot that much better!

    • Anonymous

      I spy with my little eye something racist.

    • Evelina Chang

      First glance, I didn’t really like this editorial – the colors are overly saturated, and the makeup/hair on the model almost gives my a clown-like impression. They really should have just let the clothes speak for themselves. 

      I didn’t notice the gardener’s race either, I thought that he was shrouded in shadow. But I think the whole concept is just distasteful. :/

    • Anonymous

      The stuff of nightmares……

    • AWStevens

      The model is more Lotte Lenya than Lucille Ball…

    • http://twitter.com/Merneith Merneith

      I didn’t notice the gardener, really, because I was overwhelmed by Tranny Ronald MacDonald. Looking at it again, I assume the gardener is stalking her so he can tell his friends all about what his dumbass employer wore today. He’s probably taking stealth pictures so he can blog about it.

      Ok, yeah, racist. It’s not the first time Vogue’s blown that dogwhistle, either.

      • Anonymous

        “I assume the gardener is stalking her so he can tell his friends all
        about what his dumbass employer wore today. He’s probably taking stealth
        pictures so he can blog about it.”

        I love this interpretation.

    • Anonymous

      Are these stills from a new movie called The Secret Prison Garden? The -ism I see is sexism. Well, more accurately the subjugation of women.  These snaps remind me of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, in which a woman is locked in her room by her husband until she goes mad. She starts seeing things in the flowered yellow wallpaper of her room – namely, the shape of a woman trying to get free of the yellow wallpaper enshrouding her. The slightly unhinged look of the model, the subtle creepiness of the flower gardens, and an ominous “caretaker” figure of questionable motive whom she clearly fears reference key elements of the story. I would have been knocked flat out if this were a sartorial interpretation of that classic short story. Unfortunately, the captions and copy from the spread demonstrate not a whit of literary skill, nor much thought and intelligence. “Late Bloomers”, “Lawn and Order”. Really, Vogue? Really?! Puns aren’t funny when not used with wit or cleverness. 

      Oops, just went off on a bitter tangent. Where was I… oh yeah. It irks me to no end that the fashion world insists on using the degradation of women in one form or another!  Endless parades of anorexic girl models in submissive poses with vapid facial expressions. Is there another industry in the world that shows so much contempt for its largest, most lucrative market? Why, oh why world of fashion do you hate women when we adore and worship you and line your pockets with gold?

      Ok, I think I’m showing signs of sleep deprivation. But I do recommend “The Yellow Wallpaper” to all my fellow Kittens. G’night all!

    • Robyn Morelli

      It reminds me of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman…

    • http://twitter.com/mookiepars2 Michael Parsons

      Seriously thought it was about a well to do woman having an affair with her gardener – some people see black man and think “scary” some people see black gardener and think “racially offensive” some people see gardener and think “hot sexy affair”.  TO each their own interpretation.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3AJ237ND3GAHDQJZ4TLCO4WLRA Emily

      Totally agree. It’s pretty awful. 

    • Anonymous

      Oh my god, I LOVE it. Give me her hair right now! The clothes are fabulous. I got a whole camp feeling, as in “Christina! Christopher! Get me the ax!” Mommy dearest- meets-Lady-Chatterly’s-Lover.  Just adore the whole thing. Seems very British humor to me. Cheeky. 

    • t b

      I’ve commented before, but after looking at these on a GOOD monitor, do these shots remind ANYONE of the movie Marnie? Anyone? Anybody? Marnie? 

    • Anonymous

      I would just like to know which race would be acceptable for the male model in this shoot? Asian? Latino? Native American? Probably not. My guess is only a white model playing the stalkerish gardener wouldn’t get the inevitable knee-jerk cries of racism.

      I’m sorry, but it’s just amusing to me that we have reached this ubsurd level of political correctness. Black man+gardener+looking at white lady = racism. Minor in fashion editorial = child pornography. How freely these accusations are thrown around. Such hurtful words with such real and horrible consequences,  

      We all know that the world is full of such horrible things, but all the hysteria doesn’t help.

      • http://phdoula.blogspot.com Rebecca

        I would just like to know in which society this editorial could NOT be construed with racial overtones. U.S.? Europe? South America? Asia? Probably not. My guess is only a society without strongly embedded narratives in which dark-skinned men – particularly in lower-class positions – are a sexual threat to women coded as “pure”.

        They aren’t knee-jerk cries of racism. They’re people speaking up, who have the ability to see the way those narratives are used. No, white man+gardener is not problematic, because that’s not a racist narrative that’s been used in the past. 1+2 does not equal 4, but 2+2 does.

        The world is full of horrible things, and it isn’t hysteria to name racism when we see it; it’s only logical, on the theory that identifying it helps eliminate it. Less racism = a better world, no?

        • Anonymous

          But is this editorial truly racist?
          I personally don’t think it is, and I’m sure there are a few out there who don’t think so.

          I like to believe that most of society has progressed enough to not equate lower class, dark skinned men as sexual threats to women.

          Maybe I’m clueless or not aware enough, because the only thing I see that makes this editorial have any racial overtones is that the gardener is black. Which sounds silly to assume he is a sexual predator because of his race and class.

          Perhaps I am being naive.

          • Anonymous

            Sorry to answer twice, but I just thought of one other possibility. Why are we all assuming that the black guy is the gardener? What if he owns the house and the unstable redhead is his wife? He’s simply watering his own garden because he enjoys it and finds it relaxing. Takes his mind off all the troubles at the office. How come nobody thought of that? Just because he’s black, he has to be the gardener?

        • Anonymous

          See, I believe it is a knee-jerk reaction. How can anyone accuse the people involved in this shoot of being racists, when we don’t know the first thing about them? What about the fact that the black man in this spread willingly accepted the job? I’m assuming nobody held a gun to his head, but I suppose I could be wrong. Maybe he didn’t see racism here either. Maybe he saw, as others here did, an unrequited love between the two. Or maybe that the lady in the spread is a little unstable and he’s watching her to make sure she doesn’t off herself? I mean let’s be honest; she does look a little nutty.
          My point is, a spread like this is certainly open to interpretation and different people will see different things here, but outright accusations of racism seem out of order to me. Yes, less racism=a better world, absolutely, but good luck with the better world thing if we’re all running around hurling accusations at each other left and right. Here’s a thought: “BE the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

        • Anonymous

          Sorry to answer twice, but I just thought of one other possibility. Why are we all assuming that the black guy is the gardener? What if he owns the house and the unstable redhead is his wife? He’s simply watering his own garden because he enjoys it and finds it relaxing. Takes his mind off all the troubles at the office. How come nobody thought of that? Just because he’s black, he has to be the gardener?

    • http://twitter.com/karenrubyleo Karen

      I’m surprised they didn’t have him poking his head through the hedge in pic 4. I’m going to go decapitate some roses now,

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-TallGirl-Freeman/1043623567 Jessica TallGirl Freeman

      Oh dear.  The second one with the gardner in the back is something straight out of a scary movie.  And its like she is looking in a mirror in front of her and seeing him…me no likey!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-TallGirl-Freeman/1043623567 Jessica TallGirl Freeman

      Oh dear.  The second one with the gardner in the back is something straight out of a scary movie.  And its like she is looking in a mirror in front of her and seeing him…me no likey!

    • Anonymous

      my take on the story line:  the lonely lady of the house, looking like a demented porcelain doll, notices that her hot gardener is looking at her.  she changes her clothes to another ornate outfit, perhaps applying yet more makeup, and parades by him hoping to provoke a response.  she keeps her eyes downcast, perhaps glancing his direction surreptitiously.  she returns to the house, slips into something more comfortable (?) and contemplates her next move.  i set the story in england a la lady chatterly, perhaps because the gardener is black, and all the gardeners are latino or asian where i live.  are there black gardeners in england?  i didn’t perceive the story as racist, perhaps because i didn’t see the gardener as menacing.  but i ddid see him as a sexual object, so that may be my unconscious racism.  consciously, i just thought he was hot. 

    • Anonymous

      I love it even more the second time around. She’s all like, “I feel him feeling my vibe” in the first one (look, he’s mirroring her pose!). Then she’s all like, “I’m gonna walk right by him and pretend I don’t even notice him.” And then she’s like, “I can’t believe he was sassy enough to SPRAY THAT HOSE right in front of me! I’m gonna wear my awesome black and white outfit and take a walk looking sexy and amazing and he’ll come find me and we’ll have a mad snog.” And then he doesn’t, and he blows her off, so she gets really mad and changes into that cute frock and goes mad on the potted plants. He walks in and tells her that’s NO way to pot the hanging planters, please stop. And then she goes upstairs to change yet again into a more fantastic dress and gets all mopey because she can tell he’s not into her at all.
      That’s my narrative and I’m sticking to it. 

    • Anonymous

      Remember the film “Far From Heaven?” Red-haired 50′s suburban housewife (Julianne Moore). African-American gardener Dennis Haysbert? I think they were trying to make a connection. It came out creepy.

    • Miki Miller

      Regardless of the creepy factor, these fashions don’t appeal to me at all.  They look like someone raided my grandma’s old steamer trunk and played dress-up. 

    • belleinchanel

      I’m probably in the minority here, I actually like the editorial. I do hate the hair color and the creepy gardener is a little…bizarre, but overall I love the clothes, the location and for some reason the muted color. I like how dark and sinister the flowers are.