Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Fat black women in Italian Vogue

Italian Vogue's editor, Franca Sozzani, said her decision was influenced by the New York group, as well as by Barack Obama's success in the US presidential primaries.

Meisel, who worked with Madonna on her controversial coffee-table book, Sex, brought several of the black fashion world's big names aboard for the issue. He photographed Naomi Campbell, Iman, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn, Alek Wek and Pat Cleveland, among others.

"I thought, it's ridiculous, this discrimination. It's so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race - every kind of prejudice," he told the New York Times. He blamed designers, magazine editors and advertisers for the decline in the numbers of black women in fashion shows. "I have asked my advertising clients so many times, 'Can we use a black girl?' They say no."

Among the black models on his roster was the full-figured Toccara Jones. Meisel argued that weight was also an issue in the fashion world.

read on

and more, here

This magazine exists to inspire women. How do fashion editors get inspired by watching the same procession of anonymous, blandly pretty, very young, very skinny, washed-out blondes with their hair scraped back in show after show? The glamazon supermodels of the late eighties and early nineties (Linda, Christy, Cindy, Naomi, Claudia) all looked equal but different as they thundered down the runway. Like the Spice Girls, each had an individual personality, a different physicality. So did the late-nineties wave of sexy Brazilian girls (who come in all colors, from milk to brown). The current wave of Eastern Europeans all look pretty much alike, which is odd for a trade that thrives on appealing to a woman's personal style. And all are, obviously, white. Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm model agency in London, remarks, "It's a naughty thing to say, because I've got some beautiful Eastern European girls, but to be honest, when I go in cars with them in Paris, I do get snow-blinded."


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see this issue....already got my name on one (OK two). This along w/ Linda Evangelista (43 for Prada) and Vanessa Paradis (35 for Miu Miu) replacing two 20 something models should be VERY interesting (these ads should appear in the "Black" July issue). Can't wait to see how it's all pulled off.

lagatta said...

Well, I think a lot of people would like to be as "fat" as the breathtaking Toccara Jones (Black Welsh?) - she looks like one of those old-time super-curvy cinema stars with long legs and a marked waist, not like the generic plain and dumpy.

It does seem silly to have a Black issue, but the problem is that the catwalks and shoots have become very, very blonde-white (with some notable exceptions).

Though perhaps cheap labour costs are a factor. A heartbreaking moment for me was interpreting at an NGO conference in Central Italy and as we drove back to our hotel, seeing these lovely young women waiting at illuminated bus shelters (there were no buses so late at night in that small city). I have no judgement to make about adults in the sex trade, but we knew well that these were cases of human trafficking between the mafias of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and the local mob. Horrible.

Linda, I hope you are having a good time in Toronto. Happy Solstice.

MR style said...

omg omg so so excited !

Tina said...

Linda- am in London and wish you were here! Thank you for all the fab recommendations, I have been shopping like mad!

Harvey Nicks is the best!!! xoxo

Rosaria said...

Toccara Jones, fat? Try normal. But fat? Puleeze. Linda, for God's sake please change the headline.

The Eastern European sex slave/whore/starved/addict/abused/trafficked look is a further insult to young women who aspire to be fashionable, but who fortunately don't look like that, but wish they did because it's in vogue. It's also a gross insult to Eastern European women who are victims of trafficking etc.

iveoma said...

Why did you title it FAT Black women in Vogue???? A little bizarre since a lot of those women are thin... Strange title

Anonymous said...

Your title is rather offensive...