Crystal Renn | Tom Ford | Carine Roitfeld | Vogue Paris December 2010-January 2011

The Tom Ford images of Crystal Renn are disturbing and very unerotic to me. But after seeing the Clarissa & Doug editorial from the same December 2010-January 2011 issue, I understand that Ford and Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld are to push the envelope in this issue.

Exaggeration dominates, whether the subject is the sexual desire in old people or Crystal Renn trying to retain her youthful appeal for her younger man.

It is ironic that Tom Ford takes up the topic, given his extensive use of injections and cosmetic surgery procedures. But there’s too much sex going on in the editorial to suggest that Ford and Roitfeld aren’t commenting about ageless sexuality and attraction, as much as they are the philosophical debate over plastic surgery.

Several commentators compared this Tom Ford editorial to an earler one done by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia in 2005. Generally people prefer that one, now posted in Body | Beauty | Culture: Steven Meisel | Vogue Italia July 2005 | Linda Evangelista | ‘Hollywood Life’.

There’s a qualitative difference between the two editorials, with Meisel lensing a glamorous yet questioning examination of what women endure to be beautiful. There is no sexual undercurrent, in contrast to this one from Tom Ford and Vogue Paris, in which the sexual undercurrent of older woman and younger man predominates.

With both the Clarissa & Doug editorial, as well as this one, the Ford-Roitfeld duo took a jackhammer to their topics. In the exaggeration there is ugliness and what we want to call distortion.

Unless my eyes are deceiving me, the young lover adores Renn even when she’s looking not so pretty. She is sexual to him even in her ‘ugliness’. This can be very true in real life.

Even when I don’t care for the editorial, I love that Roitfeld and Ford are tackling serious new territory in this issue of Vogue Paris, and executing it without glamour and airbrushing. Does American Vogue ever do anything remotely controversial? Anne  images via FGR.

More reading:

Steven Meisel | Vogue Italia July 2005 | Linda Evangelista | ‘Hollywood Life’