Analyzing The Absurdist Art In The New Teen Vogue

Miley Cyrus wears virginal white and poses with a pale pony on the cover of Teen Vogue‘s May issue, but inside, the editors have gone goo goo for Dada.

There is a fashion feature called “Wave Riders” which is less about fun styles for teenagers and more a journey of offbeat, mismatched cultural references designed to make old people like me cry. Or maybe it’s just the crotch of those pants that’s making me tear up and question life itself.

Perhaps you saw the seminal film The Lost Boys? It seems that this shoot, which aims to pair “surfer staples” like wet suits and day glo with “tribal chic” like war paint and feathers and “exotic extras” like an $1100 Tracy Feith surfboard, was possibly inspired by the fashions in the movie. And the styles in the movie were probably inspired by what punky beach bums were wearing in real life: Part Valley Girl, part Adam Ant. So maybe Teen Vogue is just still stuck in the ’80s. Or maybe someone on staff watched a few episodes of apocalyptic teen series The Tribe? In any case, perhaps the brightly colored jacket signifies that she is taking off for new horizons; while the “ethnic” board means she is kept afloat by her ties to her ancestors.

It’s honestly tough to hate on this because it is so mesmerizing. Where is she going that this is appropriate? And with so much purpose? Her ensemble could be an interesting comment on the cataclysmic collapse of capitalism and disintegration of consumer culture with a dash of Mad Max, end-of-civilization, do-the-best-with-what’s-left vibe if the scarf were not $370.

This, friends, is the photograph that broke my brain. She is wearing a wetsuit and carrying a surfboard while sporting six inch heels and a beret. In her purse is a shell. How do we read this image? Has the tide gone out on the American teen? Do the flies represent us buzzing around the moral decay in our society? Does the shell stand in for the emptiness of teenage lives in a Bratz-doll world? Will someone please explain?!?!?

Earlier: 13 Horrifying Images From The New Teen Vogue
Teen Vogue: Be A “Gender Bender” With A Blazer & Cornrows
Black Models: Teen Vogue Goes Where Vogue Will Not
What Recession? Teen Vogue Readers Need An Allowance
Teen Vogue Makes Gossip Girl’s Patch-Wearing Little J Pretend To Exercise

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