That piece of seaweed draped around Kristen McMenamy’s neck as she does her best dead-bird impression on the cover of August’s Italian Vogue isn’t really seaweed, of course: It’s a necklace. But it’s not just any necklace — it’s a piece fashioned from recycled inner tubes sourced from the Gulf Coast. The designer, eco-artist Kathleen Nowak Tucci of My Sister’s Art, gets her recycled rubber materials from two Gulf Coast towns (Pensacola, Florida and Atmore, Alabama), and said via e-mail that she doesn’t think the Vogue spread glamorized the oil spill in any way. “I thought it was disturbing and thought-provoking and utterly fascinating in its interpretation of the struggle for survival,” explained Tucci. “It is controversial and interpretative, which is indicative of great artistic expression.”
As for McMenamy’s dying-pelican poses, Tucci’s sister (and rep) Margaret Nowak Dobos assured us that the real ones were far more disturbing: “I was certainly more revolted at the sight of the actual birds affected by this disaster,” she said.
Dobos wasn’t sure if any other ecofriendly designers were featured in the spread, or even how many of Tucci’s creations were included, since so many of the pieces are impossible to distinguish in the photos (being slopped with oil and rolled around in sand will do that). Still, Tucci’s necklace is plainly visible in three other shots besides the cover. Do you think the prominence of an ecofriendly, Gulf-linked accessory makes the editorial more of an environmental statement and less of a publicity stunt?
Update: Per Cut reader Beniaminomarni’s suggestion, we’ve embedded Italian Vogue’s behind-the-scenes video from the Meisel shoot.