Kristin Booker • October 13, 2009

FSB Want To Know: Your Thoughts On The French Vogue Blackface Issue?

This morning, the writers at New York Magazine’s The Cut happened upon a new issue via the fabulous ladies of Jezebel: it appears that French Vogue has decided to feature Dutch model Lara Stone in blackface as part of their supermodel issue. Here is an excerpt:

“French Vogue has a reputation for controversy, and this month’s issue is no exception. Steven Klein shot Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in blackface makeup for a spread styled by French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld…. The roster — including Kate Moss, Kristen McMenamy, Yasmin Le Bon, Eva Herzigova, Claudia Schiffer, Anna Selezneva, Diane Kruger, Constance Jabloski, and Eniko Mihalik — is entirely white. No black or Asian models made the cut. But they hired Lara — and her curves — in the spirit of inclusiveness, right?”

Ok, let’s break this down to its basic facts. French Vogue is a fashion magazine, fashion magazines use models and, last I checked, we have plenty of amazing, gorgeous, authentically black models out here. I mean, I don’t know about you but if I’m going to include Kate Moss, Eva Herzigova and Claudia Schiffer in a “Model” issue, I would include their 80’s supermodel peer, NAOMI CAMPBELL, who happens to be, you know, black. God, even if Naomi wasn’t available, we have other black major models they could have utilized: Alek Wek, Veronica Webb, Tyra Banks, Iman, Chanel Iman, Liya Kedebe…? Look, I get that this is artistic expression but if we’re truly trying to make the artistic statement that she’s a blank canvas, could we have hired a black model and painted her white as well? Just saying…

Also, no Asian models? Again, if we’re talking about the supermodel era, Jenny Shimuzu was groundbreaking and Devon Aoki also cannot be ignored. If the point of art is to provoke, then they’ve definitely created a provocative photo spread but at what cost? If we look to fashion to dream, what does painting a model in blackface say to women of color who aspire to wear the clothes, either on the runway or real life?

I’m DYING to hear your comments on this one. Is this perfectly acceptable or in very poor taste? Leave me your comments below and let’s chat.


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