Nearly half of India's population lives on less than $1.25 per day. And yet Vogue India thought everyday Indians would be perfect models for a $10,000 Hermes handbag, $200 Burberry umbrella and $100 Fendi baby bib. The models' lack of teeth and shoes and their dirt flooring only made the products look all the more attractive to India's growing upper class, apparently. But thousands of indebted Indian farmers committed suicide over the past decade, leading one local newspaper columnist to call the ads "tacky... downright distasteful... [an] example of vulgarity." Vogue India editor Priya Tanna thinks her critics are being way too glum:
"Lighten up,” she said in a telephone interview. Vogue is about realizing the “power of fashion” she said, and the shoot was saying that “fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful,” she said.
“You have to remember with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously,” Ms. Tanna said. “We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world,” she said.
Never mind the bleeding hearts: Tanna risks having her eyes clawed out by Anna Wintour herself with all this business about not taking fashion seriously.