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A couple of months ago, word spread fast around Detroit that supermodel Kate Moss was in town with renowned photographer Bruce Weber to shoot a layout for W magazine, an outrageously oversized glossy that looks as slick as an expensive fake tan. The duo showed up all over the city at the Heidelberg Project and in Hamtown for a 30-some page spread in the September issue, now on newsstands. You'd think it a good thing to see our city shine in a high-fashion Conde Nast mag of that size and stature, right? At least one critic feels differently. Rebecca Mazzei
Dear editors of W, first of all, I don't live in Detroit. I live in the northern suburbs near the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club in auto-executive land. Second, I'm white, not black. And I'm a subscriber to your publication. So you'd think I'd be the target "sucker" for your photo essay more aptly titled "Kate Moss Purports to 'Do Detroit' but in Actuality Sleepwalks in Some Generic Glam Land with Black People and Motown as Mere Props." Think again!
Did you really put Rosa Parks and Kate Moss back-to-back without making yourselves puke? So you set out to prove fashionistas are as vapid and superficial as those of us with wider-ranging intellects have always thought? Kudos! I got the message too. "This year, the new clunky black shoe looks best with real black accessories. Choose from the civil rights or hip-hop eras, but African-American faux-companions are such a fun addition to this season's wardrobe!"
I couldn't care less if Kate is really as drugged as she looks in many of the photos, but I do care about this: You didn't even come close to conveying Detroit's special energy! Or reveal anything about what makes our city cool. Why does Kate look so bored? No one's bored here. Someone should have blasted Iggy, the MC5, the White Stripes or Eminem at Moss and Weber to wake them up. As in, "We're from Detroit. Blow the reveille!" (Meg White looks appalled to have Kate slammed against her: Authenticity meets mere facade.)
And someone might have looked actually looked at the powerful imagery in Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" murals, or maybe even analyzed their potent social message before obscuring them with Kate and her equally lifeless companions thus desecrating them. Too, I've never seen a photo of Michigan Central, our classical rotting train station, that so inadequately conveys the magic and mystery of its hulking, brooding ruins.
You came, you saw and you then sucked the life out of everything. For shame. We take this shit seriously! But you were just using us, weren't you? For your sordid fashionable ends. That's OK, we're from Detroit and we're used to that. And we can take it too, thank you very much.
Christina Hill is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.