Tag Archives: Models

Suggestions For The Future: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

Emily DiDonato in Namibia. Image via SI.com.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard or you’ve read articles about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition fail that swept like wildfire through the tubes and pipes of the internet. We have enough “WTF, mate?” articles about this most recent cultural appropriation fail, and unless I’m breaking a story–which I’m clearly not since this happened last week–I like to add something new to the conversation. I took a look at the (offending) pictures from this shoot and, frankly, regardless of the use of race props, most of the (again, offending) pictures are just terrible.
Continue reading

The Heather Grey, Jersey Knit, Racism of Fashion

by Our New Fashion Correspondent Joseph Lamour

Racism in the fashion industry is still alive and well. Duh. I have to say it somewhere in an article like this, so I thought, why not get it out the way from the start? However, the opinions put forth in Charles Beckwith’s modaCYCLE rebuttal piece “Racism In Fashion” are not themselves racist. But they certainly are ironic.

Naive Boy's rendition of racism in fashion
Beckwith opens with a reference to Naiveboy’s well travelled work equating Anna Wintour with the Reich. He contends that the fashion industry isn’t racist, but in fact sensitive to the collective unconscious. And what the public wants to see is more gaunt blondes. We do? Of all the pervasive excuses diversity naysayers in the fashion community claim, profit and profit alone drives some of the racially myopic choices fashion people make. And yet, 2011’s trend is “Global Prints”. Irony alarm!

Burberry Resort Wear

Image from Burberry Prorsum’s 2012/13 Resort Collection

I think he might have forgotten to italicize part of his title. Racism: In Fashion. Can’t you just hear Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa in the background? Beckwith explains why Naomi Campbell has appeared on 8 covers of Vogue and Kate Moss has appeared on 24, is because consumers (read white consumers) want to see someone in the clothes that they want to be. Kate Moss dated Pete Doherty for a long stretch- I’m pretty sure no one’s clamoring to be in her shoes these days. But would they rather be in Naomi’s or Kate’s? An editor apparently lost their job over making the wrong choice, and Beckwith states:

“I have never met Naomi Campbell, nor can I confirm or dispel the claim of an Australian editor being fired for putting her on a cover. Though, if an editor had been fired for putting Ms. Campbell on a cover, no evidence was cited that would lead anyone to believe that the action was specifically related to racism more than likely profit motives.”

But, in what world are these mutually exclusive? In Ms. Campbell’s defense, if someone got canned partially in relation to your face, wouldn’t you be upset? I might not call a bunch of publicists, but is it so far fetched that it couldn’t be true? Maybe fashion recycles social mores as much as they recycle trends. Continue reading

Do Only White Models Get to be “Ugly?”

by Guest Contributor Alex Jung, originally published at Fashion Mole

Laura Stone

Fashion is having a Lara Stone moment – again. She is the face for Tom Ford’s new beauty line, meaning her exclusive for Calvin Klein has come to an end . No matter – she is still the face of Calvin Klein’s Fall/Winter campaign and its new underwear line, Naked Glamour. Stone is a unique face in fashion. While she can look pretty and soft, she has granite cheekbones, a protruding brow and a gap between her front teeth that give her a harder, more masculine edge. She also has breasts (a no-no in high fashion) and a clumsy walk. Still, her uniqueness has catapulted her to the top of fashion. In 2009, W called her the “most-wanted face” in fashion. In Interview magazine, Marc Jacobs writes that she brims with “feral attitude and personality and sexuality.” Stone, on the cover of August’s French Vogue, is an editorial favorite. That marked her seventh cover; former French Vogue editor, Carine Roitfeld put Stone on six covers, and even dedicated an entire issue to her. It’s easy to see why. Stone epitomizes the Roitfeld woman: tough, sexy, and a little freaky.

Lara Stone is part of an increasingly visible portion of high fashion – odd, gawky, and sometimes, downright busted. In a post entitled, “What is Beauty?” Photographer Garance Doré was taken by Nina Porter, then the face of Burberry. Porter’s grey eyes, short hair, and scrunched features look more appropriate in Middle Earth than on a catwalk. Doré believes that Porter, and other models like her, are an indication of evolving fashion standards. Others include Daphne Groeneveld, Lindsey Wixson, and Saskia de Brauw. They have awesomely odd features that makes them look distinctive, interesting, and alluring.

Saskia for Versace F/W 11 (left) and Saskia on the cover of French Vogue (right)
Saskia

Nevertheless, the “blank canvases” – like Anja Rubik and Angela Lindvall – still exist. It is also true that any skilled Photoshopper can turn any of these eccentric beauties into a blank canvas. Compare the two images above: de Brauw’s Versace ad with her March cover of French Vogue. Still, the band of weird, tattooed, sometimes androgynous, sometimes masculine models are pushing the boundaries of fashion. They are moving fashion more towards the idea of individual beauty, and often, designers and editors use them to give their images personality and edge.

While fashion’s expanding idea of beauty is something to celebrate, it’s important to ask: why all of these “pretty-ugly” models white? Continue reading

Where My Sistas At? The Underrepresentation of Black Plus Size Models in Mainstream Fashion

by Guest Contributor Tasha Fierce, originally published at Red Vinyl Shoes

Something is lacking in the current push to include plus-size models in mainstream fashion publications (or “separate-but-equal” media outlets such as Vogue Italia’s “Vogue Curvy”). What’s lacking, specifically in the fashion establishment but less so in the satellite world of “fatshion” blogging, is representation of models/women of color. I want to speak specifically about black plus size models/women because there is a very particular perception of blackness conflated with female fatness as compared to other races, and it’s an identity I inhabit on a daily basis.

A popular (white) misconception is that fat is more acceptable in the black community. This is patently untrue. Hip-hop culture is often pointed to when one is making this argument. If you watch any hip-hop music videos at all, it’s clear to see that the fat on the women featured is in specific places. Booty, hips, tits. As the inimitable Sir Mix-A-Lot stated, “When a girl walks in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing [booty] in your face, you get sprung.” (emphasis supplied) There is definitely a line between acceptable fat and unacceptable fat. Those fat women who are fortunate enough to be considered “thick” are subject to an even more extreme hypersexualization of their bodies than average sized or thin black women are. As the features considered sexually desirable not only by black men but also white men are exaggerated on a fat female body, these women are often portrayed as more sexually available, yet can also be portrayed as ghetto princess or hoochie — “Jezebel” and “Sapphire”. But cross that line dividing “thick fat” and “just fat” and you quickly enter the territory of the desexualized fat black woman: the Precious, the mammy. Continue reading

Allure’s “Faces of the Future” Promotes Stereotypes About Mixed People

by Latoya Peterson

Alongside the tragic mulatto myth, the idea that being mixed is somehow “futuristic” or modern, and the idea that mixed people will be better, faster, and stronger (also called the “hybrid vigor” myth), one of the enduring features about discussions of mixed race individuals is that “hotness” always surfaces.

Allure serves up a double dose of stereotypes, weaving hotness and hybrid vigor into one creepy, objectifying article  called “Faces of the Future.”  In their November 2009 issue, writer Rebecca Mead fawns over biracial superbabies and more specifically, the wonderful aesthetic of mixed race people. After starting off with statistics about the 6.8 million Americans who self-identified as mixed on the last census, the article launches right into dehumanization:

Take, for example, Alicia Thacker, a 27-year-old public-school teacher whom Marilyn Minter has been photographing for nearly a decade, ever since Thacker completed a painting class that Minter was teaching in New York City. Thacker, who has pale skin, freckles, full lips, and a vast cloud of curly hair, is part Barbadian, part German, part Irish, part Creole, part Scottish, part African American, and part Blackfoot. (People usually think she is Hispanic, the one thing she isn’t.) In short, it didn’t take a melting pot to create Thacker – more like a full scale chemistry laboratory.

A chem lab? Really? She’s a human being, not a compound. And I’m not sure that sex counts as biological tinkering.
Continue reading