XO Gallivanting Boy

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Category: opinion

VIDEO + OPINION: The Color of Beauty



It’s funny that of all days to possibly find this video I find it today. The day when i just previously posted about the Let’s Get Lost editorial is the same day I find a documentary about race. Just great. I watched part of the documentary twice, just because my internet began to act finicky and then shut it off, so I had to start the video over, but at first I had so much that I wanted to talk about. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to talk about the race issue in general, the problems with current casting in general, the various problems with the ages of models… or any of the other things that piqued my interest in this film but I finally decided upon race.

See the rest of our coverage below the clip
I’m not quite sure how many of you are familiar with Vogue Italia and it’s Black issue. When you type in Vogue Italia on Google one of the top suggested searches is Vogue Italia Black issue actually. Anyways, the first issue of Vogue Italia that was a “Black Issue” was in July of 2008. The magazine was black models, front to back. In the US and in the UK as the documentary stated, the issue sold out in 3 days. The second issue, which came out a year later and also was “The Barbie Issue”, sold pretty well as well(whether there are any models used for the issue I’m not sure but all the pictures I have seen have been Barbies). Shortly thereafter a Vogue Black and Vogue Curve website was opened by Vogue Italia to cater to two new markets they saw.

Many applauded their efforts and the industry was allowed to pat itself on the back and say that they had leveled the playing field. I on the other hand have never agreed with it. Never a proponent of special treatment, I felt as if a “Black Issue” was giving the industry a right to not hire black models year round. There’s an Issue just for that. Furthermore, its as if Blackness were a trend, the spring issue, the personal shopper issue, and next month, the black issue. There must be a special occasion to utilize black models. Something just didn’t sit right in my stomach with the entire deal. But because I understand that I don’t have pictures to break up my writing I’ll wait for comments to see if anyone wants to discuss this matter, but I do feel as if it should be discussed.


Sooo, I’ve been debating on what to post about because of all the many things that have been coming to surface. I mean Zac Posen is thinking of moving to Paris Fashion Week, I have the new print copy of Vanity Fair that we could dish about, Forbes’ list has come out for the top paid models, or one of the six online publications that I have saved on my desktop presently. There are so many other things in addition to these but as you can tell by the picture above, we’re here to discuss the new editorial that has hit the net from Interview magazine.

See more coverage under the clip

So I presently am at home without 24/7 wireless access to the internet. This of course means that my already sporadic posts may become even more sporadic and I may begin to make more mostly text posts due to posting from Zeke, my phone. Because of this I checked my Google Reader yesterday and found about 200 posts in it. I dutifully began going through them all and found this editorial. I didn’t really read any of the comments because I usually don’t when I have so many posts to go through, but I did finish studying the editorial with a nasty taste in my mouth.

As you can see, the editorial features Daria Werbowy modeling among many models of African descent. Contrary to what some believe all the models aren’t black, I noticed and went searching for the name of the one Brazillian model that is featured, Lisalla Montenegro.As a black male, and hopefully future creative director, I’ve found so much wrong with this editorial that at first, I refused to comment, much like the Interview offices when asked about this editorial. Not wanting to be one of those people that I accuse of always assuming conspiracies I just waited for a while before finally saying my clip on it.

The editorial’s use of an array of models of color is commendable. I will start off by saying that. In my book though, the ends(utilizing many models of color) do not justify the means(positioning these models as if only props and a backdrop for the singular caucasian model). Not only does placement signify this, but the styling and positioning of these models suggests a dispoability that I’m not exactly comfortable with. If I only think a tad bit I could very well see chains on these models, and it has become a scene from a slave house. The sad part about it is that this technique has been used in many other editorials with many men and one singular female. The difference is that men have not historically been discriminated against and put into this position.

I am saddened that Mikael Jansson(photographer) and Karl Templer(stylist) have created an editorial that has unfolded in this manner. I’m a new subscriber to Interview and have yet to actually receive the issue that has this editorial featured in it, but I hope that somewhere there is a valid reason that these models have been used as haphazardly as “blackssessories.”

See the rest of the editorial here