Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vogue Italia Shoots Models in Blackface Again

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Not to bum everyone out this Monday afternoon, but Vogue Italia published a spread involving black face in its March 2014 edition. Industry vet Steven Meisel shot Dutch model Saskia de Brauw in face paint alongside taxidermied African animals. The response was predictably a mix of WTF and really, fashion? Really? As Jezebel's Dodai Stewart said:

Fashion falls back on this narrative again and again: In the minds of the fashion editors, a white woman becomes more interesting, edgier, and more stylish when appropriating another culture. Geisha robes, Native American headdresses, "tribal" ensembles—they've all become shortcuts to telegraph chicness.

Or as The Gloss' Elizabeth Licata said:

Fashion just loves to dress a white woman in a pastiche of the costumes of a different culture to make her seem "exotic" and sell a bunch of obscenely expensive clothes.
Or as Huffington Post's Julee Wilson said:
Although the feature doesn't depict historical minstral-inspired Blackface, it's still in bad taste. We're thoroughly confused as to why the magazine didn't think this type of editorial would be offensive and why they didn't just use a black model in the first place. Clearly the "Blackface is NEVER Ok" memo addressed to the fashion industry keeps getting lost in the mail.
Someone, draft that memo. Because even though it's 2014 the fashion world could really use it.
· Vogue Publishes Yet Another Blackface Fashion Feature, Are You Offended? [Huffington Post]
· Reformation's Elana Rosenblatt Apologizes for 'Racist' Instagram [Racked]