I think I've mentioned before that the Letters to the Editor feature is usually my favorite part of any magazine. My own letters are usually way too bitchy to be published but every now and then someone will write one that is after my own heart.
I wrote awhile ago about the "From Here to Timbuktu" editorial and article that appeared in the June issue of Vogue magazine. This month's issue features three letters that highlight wildly different takes on the piece.
The first letter congratulates Vogue on "the absolutely respectful mise-en-scene" which apparently, inspired the reader to such an extent that she now plans on wearing her Tuareg men's wallet around her neck instead of on her wall. A second letter really kills it and tells of the reader's completely rekindled Arabian Nights-esque fantasies. That one left me wondering if the woman who wrote it did so while was was sitting buck naked at her computer, drinking wormwood and gently stroking the fur on her diamond collared ocelot.
I honestly began to wonder if I missed something since the article's description of Timbuktu as a playground for wealthy people who want to get away from it all just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Luckily, Chelsea Cook from Athens, Georgia breaks it down:
I was stunned to see photographs of beautiful Liya Kebede amid what looked to be poor African citizens in the June issue. I was sickened to then read the photos' captions: a $3,915 Cavalli dress...modeled next to people from one of the world's poorest countries...
Just this morning I was reading about a 16 page spread which appeared in Vogue India's August issue in which luxury items were modeled by nameless poor people. In the photo above, an Indian child models a Fendi bib which retails for $100. Manufacturers argue that they are just trying to create aspiration for their brands while raising awareness of the problem of poverty. There is no indication if any of these models for a day received the typical wage that a professional model would earn for hawking the same goods in the magazine. They just get the typical people-as-props treatment. I guess this is much prettier and editorial featuring the real poor people who make these designer garments for pennies in sweatshops.
Somehow I just don't think that this is amusing or enlightening.