In the July 2008 issue of Vogue Italia, an Italian fashion magazine, all the models will be black! I thought I would never live to see such a thing! As long as I can remember Vogue has been telling the world that thin white women are the most beautiful – and most of the world seems to believe it. But now this! It makes my heart sing!
I do not read Vogue and my wife assures me I have no fashion sense, but I still want my own copy when it comes out in June! I know it sounds kind of nuts, but it is almost as if the world will be black for a day.
The cover will fold out and show Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell.
So far we know at least these models will be in the magazine:
- Chanel Iman
- Naomi Campbell (20 pictures)
- Alek Wek
- Alva Chin
- Arlenis Sosa Pena
- Gail O’Neil
- Karen Alexander
- Tyra Banks
- Veronica Webb
- Yasmin Warsame
- Liya Kebede
- Jourdan Dunn
- Sessilee Lopez
- Toccara Jones
- Pat Cleveland
Jourdan Dunn said not too long ago about race and fashion:
London’s not a white city, so why should all our castings be white? I go to castings and see several black and Asian girls, then I get to the show and look around and there’s just me and maybe one other coloured face. They just don’t get picked. I hope it’s because the designer just didn’t think they were good enough as a model, but I don’t know.
Franca Sozzoni, the editor, agrees. When asked why she is doing an all-black Vogue, she said: “Because nobody is using black girls. I see so many beautiful girls and they were complaining that they are not used enough.”
When asked what if the issue fails because not enough Italians buy it, she said, “Maybe in our country it is not the best idea. But I don’t care. I think it is not my problem if they don’t like it – it’s their problem.” She is great!
Steven Meisel, who has already shot all the pictures for the issue and will be given 100 pages, is all for it too. He is one of Vogue’s top photographers, the one who did Madonna’s “Sex” book in 1992. He hopes an all-black Vogue will lead fashion magazines and designers to use more black models.
Iman, who probably has the best insight on this, is not getting her hopes up:
I still don’t like us (black models) to be a caricature. They’ll think, “Okay, we did it.” And then they’re done with it, and we’ll have to wait till next year … When you see commercials and movies and every other form of art in terms of entertainment, you never have this conversation. So it is so outdated. I can only say that one of the reasons is that models have never had unions, so there is no one to say, “This isn’t right.”
It is set to come out in Europe on June 26th, the following week worldwide.
Here is a video showing 49 pictures:
- A blow by blow account of the issue at the blog Beautiful Also Are the Souls of My Black Sisters
- Jezebel.com’s guided tour of the all-black Vogue
- Will there ever be an African Vogue? – at Racialicious
- black fashion models
- race and beauty
- white beauty: a brief history
- Black women are beautiful