>> Vogue India has been around just short of a year, but it's already causing uproar. A spread that appeared in the August 2008 issue, featuring "real" Indian people carrying $10,000 Birkin bags or $200 Burberry umbrellas, is being called "downright distasteful" and an "example of vulgarity" because nearly half of India's population lives on less than $1.25 a day.
Vogue India editor-in-chief Priya Tanna's responded by standing her ground:
Lighten up . . . Fashion is no longer a rich man’s privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful. You have to remember with fashion, you can’t take it that seriously. We weren’t trying to make a political statement or save the world.
The depiction was worsened in critics' eyes because the subjects were not identified by name — the brands of the accessories were identified in the captions, which they then say are worn by a lady or a man.
Vogue India is not the first edition of Vogue to stir controversy this year; In fact, it was reported earlier this year that Si Newhouse, Conde Nast's chairman (and therefore Vogue overseer) delights in the controversies his magazines create. So perhaps — Anna Wintour and Priya Tanna — they were just pleasing their boss.