Australian-born international supermodel, Abbey Lee Kershaw, arguably one of the top five “it” girls of fashion today, recently teamed up with “it” New York City photographer Ryan McGinley to create a provocative fashion video for South Korean clothing company Lewitt. In the video, Abbey Lee plays a suicidal, yet very fashionable, damsel in distress. The suicide of the Abbey Lee’s character at the end has created a firestorm; as critics have contested that Lewitt’s video is “making suicide sexy,” just for the sake of fashion.
The Frisky: Frockwriter depressingly reports, “it’s worth noting that South Korea has the highest female suicide rate in the OECD,” and adds, “The country’s most high profile modeling export, Daul Kim, committed suicide eight months ago (although not by jumping), part of an alarming new trend of model suicides – most of them by jumping.”
Obviously with a resume boasting Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Alexander McQueen amongst her adoring fans, Abbey Lee was an enormous, but expensive asset for lesser-known Lewitt clothing. I believe Lewitt may have outsmarted their opposition by, in reality, creating a thought-provoking juxtaposition of art and our current culture.
The video exploits the devastation of suicide, by pairing it with the beauty of high fashion. As a culture, think of all the things we love, semi-grotesque, yet still beautiful. We love being voyeurs; we can’t turn away from those images. It may not be so much that this video makes suicide sexy, as it questions what we believe as a culture to be beautiful. No matter how big a train wreck it may actually be.
Don’t too quickly forget Heroin Chic.