Vogue Italy Defends Photo Spread Depicting Domestic Violence

The magazine has called the spread a "message against barbarism."

April 4, 2014— -- Vogue Italy is defending a photo spread that depicts models as victims of domestic violence.

"It doesn’t matter if we run the risk of causing a general uproar with the media or arousing criticism; or if we are accused of exploiting pressing issues just to push our way in newsstands," the magazine’s features director Carlo Ducci said in an editorial accompanying the spread entitled "Cinematic". “What is important for us is that at least one of the dozens of women suffering violence every day can feel our nearness."

The 10-photo spread shot by photographer Steven Meisel features screaming women, knife-wielding men and a lot of fake blood. Oh, and some beautiful clothes. It’s in the magazine’s April issue, which hit newsstands today and triggered an uproar on Twitter.

But Ducci said the spread was "a message against barbarism," intended to stimulate readers to “take action, condemn, and support women in trouble” and assure victims of domestic violence that “all of us at Vogue Italia are on their side."

"There are specific situations which are rarely covered by fashion magazines, in a sort of silent psychological embargo, or an assumed incompatibility with the DNA of this particular realm of publishing,” Ducci said. “Not seeing them (or pretending not to) seems now a universally accepted modus operandi by the publishing system as such; it makes us all ‘partners in crime’, cutting us off once and for all from our daily lives, as if we had our eyes covered with one of those sleep masks we wear on a plane."

Not everyone saw the spread as a feat of journalistic integrity.

This is not the first time a fashion magazine has been accused of glamorizing violence or death. Last summer Vice Magazine unpublished a spread that depicted models as victims of famous suicides.