“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
– Harry’s Game, 1975.
We hear a lot about terrorists in this current age. It’s only for one side of the fight that they’re romanticised though. And it’s only for one side of the fight that they could be thought of as fashionable.
But such separations are clear only for the terrorists of the modern age. We seldom have a problem romanticising those of years past. Fiction romanticises the Crusades, designers make fashion out of Che Guevara’s image, V Spain weaves a fashion story around the Spanish Civil War.
In Guerrilla Girl, a pictorial featuring model Edita Vilkeviciute in the magazine’s spring 2012 issue, the Spanish Civil War is made modern. Or something you’d assume is the Spanish Civil War is made modern. The story never clarifies precisely which struggle it is that this Guerrilla Girl is fighting. To the modern eye, the styled beret lends itself to Che Guevara and all the other revolutionaries of the 1960s. But its a style of beret borrowed from the Basque region and thus a style that featured prominently during Spain’s civil war. The weaponry isn’t of the era though. No Ak-47 ever fired a single shot during Spain’s internal conflict.
And thus Guerrilla Girl is a photo shoot that does what most fashion photo shoots do: takes a topic, lightens it, sanitises it, romanticises it. In doing so the emotion is often removed. Hence there remains a place in the world for the controversial fashion photo shoots. The pictorials that make us argue. The pictorials that force our gaze. The pictorials that make us want to take sides. This isn’t one of them, but the mainstream arts are seldom good at encroaching on the topics of conflict.