Friday, 16 October 2009

French Vogue Causes Race Row

Not usually do we hear controversial comments made about fashion magazines, but the October issue of French Vogue has sparked a new race row. Carine Roitfield has always known how to keep her magazine in the limelight, but not for the right reasons this time.

Photographer Steven Klein's shoot for a spread in the magazine's new "Supermodels" issue shows Dutch supermodel Lara Stone plastered in brown make-up, not because thats her skin tone, but for no specific reason other than the fact that no models of colour were part of it at all.

The photo shoot, styled by the editor herself, lead to an outrage, making it a huge talking point in the media and online. The US blog Jezebel criticised the the need to alter the model's skin colour, accusing them of 'cultural insensitivity.'

"What Klein and Roitfeld should know … is that painting white people black for the entertainment of other white people is offensive in ways that stand entirely apart from cultural context," Jezebel stated.

On the other hand, Dominique Sopo, president of the French organisation SOS Racisme, said that even if the shoot was not racist in intention it was certainly "tactless".

"If the aim was artistic, and not to pass off the model as a black girl, the fact that it produces such reactions shows that the world of images – advertising, fashion, whatever – is now paying for its long tradition of not allowing black people to show their bodies in public."

However, French Vogue is standing its ground. According to the Daily Mail, a spokesperson said that it was "unaware it had caused offence" and declined to make any further comment.

Personally, I think it is highly unnecessary for a model to have her skin tone changed. She is white, so why paint her black? If they were to be diverse, they should bring in other models rather than completely change ones look. It would also save the paint. Something like this will create a misleading message and of course it can be taken offensive.

Not a great month for French Vogue then!

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