Last month, I pitched an idea for a photo shoot that, in my mind, seemed ingenious. We planned to shoot a woman in menswear, and I suggested we contrast the masculinity with something soft. My brilliance? “She could hold a live, woolly animal. Think Tilda Swinton with a lamb!”
My editor scoffed but had me present the concept to the art director anyhow, who deemed it, for us, “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
He was right: farm animals? What was I thinking? Well, sometimes fashion editors don’t think, and we get offensive stories with models in $5,000 gowns flanked by Maasai people or, worse, Kate Moss in a Ren Fest-y dress in Vogue, extolling her love of “gypsies.”
On rare occasions, though, magazines produce an odd idea well. InStyle’s November spread with famed Muppet Miss Piggy is unexpectedly brilliant. Wearing outfits by Jason Wu and, above, Suno, the porky puppet satirizes every celeb fashion spread you’ve ever seen. It’s surprising social commentary for an industry that often lacks self-awareness.
Fashion and farm animals? It sounds dumb, but when done with a famous pig, it’s a winning combination.