Did Vogue Italia cross the line of good taste? 

The magazine has come under fire after this month's edition featured an editorial inspired by the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Photographer Steven Meisel shot model Kristen McMenamy, dressed in black, covered in oil, and lying in a variety of poses on a (mock) polluted beach.

While fashion and art are often one and the same, the shoot has sparked some criticism — with many saying that it's just not appropriate to glamorize the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

"Creating beauty and glamour out of tragedy seems quite [messed up] to us," writes Refinery 29, "not to mention wasteful and hypocritical, seeing as thousands of dollars of luxury clothing was flown in, and then subsequently ruined for the shoot. Glamorizing this recent ecological and social disaster for the sake of 'fashion' reduces the tragic event to nothing more than attention-grabbing newsstand fodder."

Meanwhile, Remy Chevalier over on Treehugger argues the opposite, saying that the shoot is "a welcome return to using editorial fashion photography to comment on serious issues. Fashion will save the world, and my hat goes off to Meisel for taking the message to those who own the yachts and private jets. If they start caring, they'll start looking for alternatives to oil, coal and nuclear; that's the only way we'll get to the bottom of energy conversion suppression."

What do you think? Is this art with a message — or just fashion taking advantage of a disaster to sell magazines? Check out some additional photos from the shoot here.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Vogue Italia uses oil spill theme for new photo shoot
Decision to feature disaster stirs debate in fashion circles.