I Lost A Hand To Vogue's Photoshopping

Illustration for article titled I Lost A Hand To Vogue's Photoshopping

There's a picture of me on Vogue's Web site. And I'm missing a hand.

Last week, the street-style photographer Phil Oh snapped my picture as I was hurrying to make it to the first fashion show of this season, Rachel Comey. (It was a beautiful show.) I don't know Oh personally, but his is a welcome friendly face at the collections, and I was feeling buoyed by the first-day-of-school atmosphere, so as he raised his camera, I smiled. Then I ran inside, took my seat, and forgot about it. Until the picture turned up on Vogue's Web site as an illustration for a shopping guide.


First reaction: wow, how flattering! It's Vogue, after all.

Second reaction: wait, why am I flattered? It's Vogue, after all.

Third reaction: my entire outfit cost less than the single cheapest item on Vogue's shopping list.

Fourth reaction: oh, God, why did I read the Facebook comments. Why why why.

Fifth reaction: hand?

You can see Oh's original photograph at right and Vogue's version on the left.

I can see why they did it. I was mid-stride and the arm flung behind me reads a little weird on camera. That's just one of those bodily quirks that makes street-style photography, well, street-style photography — as opposed to fashion magazine editorial photography, which is always airbrushed to the familiar dubious standard of "perfection." But what I don't understand is why they left in the sections of my arm visible between my back and the strap of my bag. Perhaps we should not ask, 'What happened to Jenna's hand?' but rather, 'What happened to Vogue's vaunted thoroughness?'

For the record, I was wearing: a Rachel Comey dress ($100, bought because the print incorporates a photograph of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, a building I dream of one day seeing in person), secondhand Ferragamo T-straps ($19.99), a brown vintage bag ($16.50), a vintage Balenciaga scarf ($2), and a pair of Karen Walker sunglasses (free in a gift bag given to show guests last season — which I'll be the first to acknowledge as an example of fashion-writer privilege). Total outfit cost: $136.49.

Vogue's shopping guide includes: a Rochas dress ($3,457), a pair of Givenchy sandals ($890), Miu Miu sunglasses ($365), an Ilya purse ($940), and a Dries Van Noten scarf ($410). In a creative flourish — or perhaps keen to exploit the commercial possibilities of styling options I myself had regrettably overlooked — Vogue added a $290 Yves Saint Laurent ring and an $870 Aurélie Biederman gold necklace to its list of suggestions. The total cost of Vogue's shopping guide (which admittedly includes multiple options for dresses and shoes): $24,279.


Losing the hand didn't hurt so much as tingle — like the accumulated psychic pain of a lifetime reading overpriced ladymag market pages.

The Sundress's Last Hurrah [Vogue.com]
Jenna Sauers, NYFW [Streetpeeper]



I have a question re: the facebook comments though (well, not really, just kind of related?) Do you feel your body type has led you to having a more successful career as a fashion writer? I've wanted to be a fashion writer/editor for as long as I can remember — I've done tons of writing internships, have a fashion blog, went to a good school, have a good degree. When I apply for internships or jobs at fashion magazines, I do often get called in for interviews, as I am qualified — but the minute they see me in person, they seem to dismiss me. I'm not overweight by any means — I'm short and pretty average-thin build. They always end up asking me patronizing questions about how do I know I'm ready for the fashion world, and if I can handle it, and blah blah blah. In the end, I leave feeling like maybe I should pick another career — I mean, do I stop eating to get my dream job, or what?

I'm not trying to be patronizing. I just have to ask. As a fashion writer, do you feel having a slender body type has helped you? And what would you say to someone (like myself) who can't break into the industry no matter what they do... and ultimately feels like it's suggested that I never will because of my body type?