It was a good idea in theory, as they're usually shot apart, to bring model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid together. But this Steven Meisel shoot for British Vogue March 2018 garnered more negative reactions than positive, and made people uneasy. Here are four reasons why.
1. However you try to spin it, the pose looks incestual. Numerous comments on Edward Enninful and Vogue's Instagram posts of the shoot are calling it out as "repulsive", "disgusting", "inappropriate", "unacceptable", and are even calling on Enninful to resign. Put plainly, sexual tension between two females is one thing, but simply wrong when the two are sisters. Some have commented that it looks like an ad for a porn site.
2. We thought Edward Enninful was going to embrace diversity. Readers were sick of Alexandra Shulman et al's predictable choices and content of the same British socialites over and over (Suki, Kate, Poppy and Cara, and repeat). Readers were happy about Enninful's appointment and saw it as a breath of fresh air, expecting to see not only racial diversity, but a step away from the nepotism and favoritism that was plaguing the title. Many have commented that Enninful's choice of Gigi and Bella, dubbed "nepto-models", does not demonstrate the democratic turn many hoped for.
3. Holy, Photoshop. Bella Hadid looks heavily edited, with many commenting that she does not in fact look like herself. Coupled with the public knowledge of significant surgical enhancement, the image just does not seem very real - not a good chord to strike at a time when the fashion community is breaking down the smoke-and-mirrors.
4. Where's the fashion? Styled by Joe McKenna, nude and full of sexual innuendo, many wonder what exactly this image has to do with fashion.
This isn't the first time the fashion community has expressed disappointment in Edward Enninful's decisions. Reactions to his first vintage-style cover featuring Adwoa Aboah were mixed (Aboah was somewhat a predictable choice and the name-call of British stars did nothing to offset accusations that Enninful just rides off his famous friends), last month's cover of Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman (again beckoning questions about diversity), and his editorial choices (basically, many non-journalists appointed for their profiles).
We know this is a hard time for publications, but gimmicky shoots like this seem a bit desperate and tone-deaf.