Honesty, we just don’t get it.
Over the last couple of years, it seems as though fashion glossies have missed the memo on blackface and cultural appropriation. And for the last two years, Vogue’s European editions have become totally clueless and careless when it comes to their fashion editorials.
The first time we pointed out Vogue and their blackface issue was back in 2009, when French Vogue decided to showcase Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in blackface.
Then once again, in 2013, Vogue Netherlands still missed the “blackface is culturally insensitive and minstrely” memo when they decided to shoot their “Heritage Heroes,” editorial for the May 2013 issue. The shoot paid homage to Marc Jacob’s designs for Louis Vuitton with each look capturing the inspiration behind one of his collections.
Supposedly the shoot was inspired by Josephine Baker and Grace Jones but instead of using black models, they went with white model Querelle Jansen in blackface with wigs to resemble textured hair. What an amazing way to pay tribute to both of these cultural icons, right?
According to Fashionista, “a caption from the editorial translates to “This collection is inspired by the style of the Parisian showgirl Josephine Baker, mixed with tribal influences.”
And now, yet another Vogue magazine is at it again. This time it’s Vogue Italia. To distinguish itself from other blackface spreads, there’s a dose of African cultural appropriation thrown in for good measure. The magazine’s March 2014 issue has 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 headdresses, colorful wrappings, and with animals.
So here we are in 2014, and the fashion industry’s answer to Jourdan Dunn’s lack of diversity is to once again, throw some brown face paint on a white model (sure, there’s white paint included as well) and pretend to be on a safari in an African country. Here at Clutch, we’ve pretty much had it. We’re tired of magazines and their “blackface is chic” outlook on fashion. Until Vogue, regardless of which edition it is, gets their act together, you’ll never hear a mention of it on this site, or Coco & Creme again.