In what appears to be a bit of a trend, another Vogue magazine has published a racially insensitive fashion shoot. Vogue Italia’s March 2014 issue includes a feature entitled “Abracadabra” that was shot by Steven Meisel and shows model Saskia de Brauw in a series of images with her skin darkened while posing in ethnic fashion including head pieces and tribal clothing while posing with animals. We know, we can’t believe in 2014 this is still happening!
The fashion industry is not known for its diversity. For every Joudan Dunn there’s a thousand skinny blondes like Cara Delevingne. We can’t remember the last time there was a black model on the cover of Vogue, and while we hoped Kate Upton’s Vogue covers might signify the end of skinny, the catwalks in Paris this week tell a different story. But if Vogue wanted to this story, why on earth didn’t they just hire a black model? Despite calls for more diversity, New York and London fashion weeks have featured approximately 80 per cent white models for the past six seasons. Former model Jezebel.com writer Jenna Sauers stated;
“Models of color — even successful ones — often face discrimination on the basis of their race. Black models are told by clients that they won’t be hired because they ‘already have’ a black model, black models talk about encountering makeup artists and hair stylists who refuse to work with them, and black models say they have a harder time breaking into an industry that accords them fewer opportunities than white models.”
It’s not the first time Vogue has caused controversy by darkening the skin of models and, indeed, using blackface! In 2009 Paris Vogue photographed Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in black body and face paint. In April 2013 Vogue Netherlands featured a photographic spread entitled ‘Heritage Heroes’ with white model Quarelle Jansen wearing a black wig and with her face painted black. The media furoir makes us question, as always, is it a case of no publicity is bad publicity? Wake up Vogue, there’s nothing cool about racism!