The XX Factor

Vogue Pays Tribute to Hurricane Sandy First Responders With Awful Photo Spread

Models and firemen walk the streets as residents yell “Help us!” out their windows.

Is this what happens when Anna Wintour feels emotion? Paying tribute to the colossal destruction and devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the latest issue of Vogue features a high fashion photo spread “celebrating” Sandy first responders by photographing them with models wearing “the best of the New York collections,” which the magazine winkingly dubs “New York’s other finest.” Ha.

Disaster-chic: Vogue models strike a relaxed pose with National Guardsmen.

The photos range from the dramatic (three models in flowing white dresses and stilettos posed on the edge of a speeding coast guard boat) to the schmaltzy (Far Rockaway firemen arm-in-arm with waifs clad in Narciso Rodriguez and Diane von Furstenberg) to the downright bizarre (models in black-and-white striped Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs numbers, looking clearly uncomfortable among the neo-natal nurses who evacuated Bellevue Hospital when it lost power).

The photos were all taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, who managed to turn firefighters, army reservists, and Con Ed workers into props. Did Leibovitz not realize that the real, non-model people in her lens were 20,000 times more captivating and alive than the models or the clothes? And did no one on the Vogue copy desk lol at the captions, like this one:

Employees were evacuated on rafts that floated on top of parked cars—and came back to work the next day. “It was a matter of getting the station back online,” says mechanic’s aide Robin Yang. “It was ‘Everybody join heads and do what you have to do.’ ” Oscar de la Renta double-face duchesse-satin dress.