A well-to-do man eating caviar in a Christian Dior suit in the middle of Zucotti Park, surrounded by dreadlocked hippies, is about as 1 percent as it gets. That’s the setup for a men’s fashion spread in the newest issue of Vice Magazine, which places bespoke gentlemen in the midst of Occupy Wall Street’s encampment, before it was broken up last month. The photos, by Ben Ritter, succeed both as a clever fashion controversy-stirrer and a searing criticism of income inequality.
Shooting photos of designer fashion amid the semi-homeless protesters could, at first glance, be taken as a callous “let them eat cake” statement. It’s a fabulous contrast, with the clean-shaven models in their pinstripes next to bearded men in puffy coats and tents. But Vice isn’t mocking Occupy — the title of the story, “American Psychos,” shows that the magazine is leveling its criticism at the people who can afford the clothes it is presenting, just as Bret Easton Ellis did in the book that inspired the shoot’s name. Sending models in suits worth thousands of dollars to occupy Occupy Wall Street verges on performance art.
Comments on the story, and Vice’s Facebook post, are mainly limited to the clothes, not the protests. “No pocket squares? Wow, times are tough,” says one commenter. A few others were concerned that the stylists did not dress the models with belts.
The photos appear in Vice’s “Moral Compass Issue.” See the full photo shoot at Vice.