Vogue Italia Comment Love!

Even though we’re now in August (this year is positively flying past me, I swear), the July issue of Vogue Italia continues to make news. The issue was the first in Conde Nast history to be reprinted, and it’s been analyzed to high heaven — Jezebel did exhaustive work, as did Make Fetch Happen. Stylechile and NYC/Caribbean Ragazza also wrote insightful critiques.

My post In or Out of Vogue, drew some really insightful comments. The folks over at AOL Black Voices thought so too — they linked to it in their Responses to Italian Vogue slide show. You can peep Danielle J’s comment on slide 6 of 18. Props, Danielle J!

If you got your hands on the issue, consider yourself lucky — I was unable to procure one here in Miami or Chicago when I visited recently. If you’re like me and couldn’t get a copy, check out Fashionista, she scanned and posted the whole thing. Oh, and for those who feared the black model phenomenon would be a one-issue trick, the August issue of Italian Vogue features beautiful, moody photos of the smoking hot Jourdan Dunn. Not to be left completely in the lurch, American Vogue’s August issue features an article on beautifully aging bella Diahann Caroll, and up and coming soon-to-be-interviewed-by-moi singer Janelle Monae. Yay!

Now that the furor has died down a bit, what do you think about the all black Italian Vogue issue? Was it worthy of all the hubbub, or was it much ado about nothing special? Do you think it’s going to help to bring a more inclusive palette of beauty to the fashion industry, or is that just wishful thinking?

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Comments

  1. I appreciate the sentiment, but I wasn’t especially wowed by the magazine. I was lucky enough to score two copies of which I gave one to my teenage niece to be able to reflect on. I wish the ENTIRE magazine, ads and all, would have been made up of black models. I think that would have really been wonderful but instead we got just the articles. After all the hype I felt somewhat let down but hopeful. Like Iman, I feel that this shouldn’t end up being a one trick pony.

  2. Grazie bella for the shout out!

    I think the ads proved Franca point. As the editor she only has control of the editorial content not the advertising. Since designers claim black models don’t sell, I hope this issue proves that is statement is a bold face lie.

    I see Liya is in the latest Lanvin ad campaign and Naomi replaced Kate Moss for YSL.

    Is the issue perfect? Of course not but I’m glad she did it and that it sold so well. Maybe American fashion magazines will start putting models on the cover again and stop using the same three blond “celebs”.

    Now if only my business (hollywood) would realize that sisters go to the movies too. Tyler Perry is not the only black American experience.

  3. Afrobella, I scoured Chicago for five weeks and managed to only score two copies, which I gave to my mom and my great aunt. My mom is 60+ and my great aunt, well, she’s 80+, and both of them were very impressed with the issue and actually got a little teary-eyed over it. My great aunt even said, “Obama and now this all in the same year,” so I was glad I gave one of them to her. Like many I found myself bugged by the contrast with the models in the advertisements and I wish I could read the articles in order to get the whole context of the issue. I also found myself thinking about how hyper-sexualized many of the images were, which is clearly a fashion thing, but it hit me in that place that is tired of seeing black women depicted in such a manner. There was a whole lot of lingerie and tatas! However, I felt conflicted about my own thoughts because on the other hand, what a relief to see black female sexuality classed up a bit – such contrast to the loud mammy stereotype. Fortunately, my husband tracked down an issue and had it for me in the car when he picked me up at LAX, so now I have my own as well!

  4. Cococure says:

    I am from Holland and I had no problem getting my issue,here it isnt a big deal at all and the issues are definitely not sold out.
    When I started going tru it,I was like..ehmmmm where are the black models again exactly? All the adds,which to be honest are like 30/40% of the magazine,and frankly the biggest issue with a lack of minorities in them,ALL had white models in them. Then somewhere in the middle of the magazine the shoots with the black models started. The photoshoots were BREATHTAKING beautiful,especially Naomi Campbell’s-omg this woman is crazy but is she fierce or what!?.
    I recognize the importance of this issue and Im glad that I own it and that its being received the way it is,and I think its a great beginning for more exposure and work for black models. Now if the advertisement industry could fallow too..

  5. I didnt get hold of a copy. The problem with not living in a major city in the uk. Ihave read good things about although I myself was aprehensive. Thanks for thelinks I going to check them out. Toccara Tocarra love the pics I have seen of her on the web

  6. after making multiple trips and calls to a newsstand based in harvard square that specializes in distributing international publications we acquired a copy. i was not entirely disappointed. the divas were still working it

    i too wish i could read the language to more fully enjoy the issue.

    i was little overwhelmed by the ads — which featured white women almost exclusively. the ads seemed inconsistent with the theme but i guess they are in the business of selling magazines.

    in the end, it seemed like a homage to stephen miesel, the photographer. seems like he was featured more prominently than any of the models.

    what happened to beverly johnson? she was the singular “IT” black girl in the 70s. seems like status should have earned her at least one page.

  7. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    I think things are changing,and will continue to change in the fashion industry.We need to stick together more as a race to get equality in all things.

  8. As someone who works in fashion {to me} the Vogue Italia issue has pushed many and I do mean many behind the scenes to consider the way they were promoting segregation within an industry that doesn’t belong to any one group of people. So while some can debate the fotos or the content, the fact remains Vogue Italia went there despite some grumbles from the indutry. I may not like all the editorials, I do applaud their efforts. It’s already influenced other magazines. Pop Magazine’s new issue has 6 covers, that feature 3 black models {all have their own cover} and 3 white models. I don’t think this will be the end of the wave of embracing change. Do I think it will completely end the denial of woman of colour in major media? No – but starting somewhere and letting the public prove that these things matter is change. What I love about all of this is the dialog, it’s keeping the issues firmly on the tips of tongues. The global dialog by black people from around the world is a beautiful thing. We may not all agree on it’s impact but we’re talking and proving that we’re a force when we demand change.

    Of course we’ll see in a few weeks if this wave of change touches NYFW and I will be there to cover it and see if more women of colour rock the runway. This also opens-up new avenues for women of colour instead of waiting on others to embrace us, many and I do many are creating their own outlets to combat the denial of our beauty. I don’t leave all of this “change” dialog to others, we as a whole must demand and create where there are voids and ball dropping.

    PS: Love your blog Bella!

  9. Sabrina97 says:

    Hey Cococure, could you get a hold of a copy and send it to me?

  10. For those of you in the Miami area, try “BASE” on Lincoln Road (where I got mine) or “News Café” (which always carries European editions of popular magazines) on Ocean Drive. They’re probably the only two places that carry them in Miami…When I got my copy at BASE, the sales clerk wanted to know what the big deal was, because so many people had come in asking for one. I smiled and happily explained.

    As far as the contents of the issue, I naively thought all the ads were going to feature black models too–now THAT would have been a feat–so I was a little disapppointed, but glad at the same time that it was done, that it received so much media attention and that I have one.

  11. This might help…

    Cost: 5 euros ISBN# 9770042802009 (to order)

    from http://bfinterracialmarriage.blogspot.com/

  12. @ Sabrina97..Wow I never would have thought somebody would ask me over here in Holland to send them a copy of an Italian magazine to the US(assuming that you live there) LOL.
    But Yes I could,all in the love of black women :D
    hit me up at acdl88@hotmail.com and we’ll talk further

  13. For the longest time I didn’t pick up a copy, I’m living in New York and it wasn’t so hard to come by. On one hand I applauded the effort, but on the other hand it felt like a “let’s appease them for this issue, then it will be back to normal.” So I finally got the issue and loved the layouts, but as other commenters have said — the advertisements were all white faces. I don’t know if I’m just never satisfied, but the thing is to not have an annual all-black issue, or just one. The purpose is to have many different faces of color, not just black, in fashion. Will this ever happen, I don’t know, but I wonder how everything will a year from now. Will it be business as usual with a low representation of people of color in fashion magazines, or will you see subtle changes? I’m hoping for the latter, but the big issue now is what drives advertising dollars and it looks like it still is that of an only white model spectrum.

  14. ‘bella, I live in Europe but I’m visiting the States for a few weeks. I brought some spare copies of the Vogue Italia with me ’cause I figured someone would want one. Contact me and we can work something out.

  15. i harassed my local newstands (in NY) for weeks looking for a copy – i bought two, and the owner told me a woman who had just left before me bought EIGHT!
    (i pased her on the way out – im almost positive it was Joy Bryant!)

    the ad did seem a startling contrast but the images were striking.
    i DID have to remind myself that its a european magazine — what we here would consider excess nudity is par for the course overseas.
    since ‘our’ issue sold out like crazy and is probably going to again lets hope advertisers get the message.

    ALSO- TRACE Magazine does a ‘Black Girls Rule’ issue *yearly*
    [take THAT Vogue]

  16. afrobello says:

    Did the August issue show any progress?

  17. I am still waiting for my copies since I could not find them here in Toronto, Canada. I ordered from mymagstore.com. They are based in the USA.

  18. I happened across this blog by a black model named and she brings up the issue of white washed advertising.
    http://modelliberation.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-are-advertisers-still-whitewashed.html

  19. Well, I applaud Vogue Italia like everyone else, even though I couldn’t get a copy. The pics are great. HOWEVER, a great magazine has been over-looked and it’s on store shelves daily (at least here in Atlanta, where I reside). It’s a British fashion mag geared towards women of color called “Colures”. I feel like I’m street-teaming, but really, I’d hate to see this one (chock-filled with Black models and ads) go the way of Honey and so many other mags intended for us.
    Anyway, viva Italia! I hope I can get a copy eventually. I got tired of calling all the bookstores and driving all over the place for one. Geez…

  20. Thanks for the shout Bella!

    http://realsimpleliving.wordpress.com/

  21. I was visiting family and friends in Paris and of course it was on the newsstands everywhere but I had no desire to buy it? Why? I don’t need an “all black” issue. Nor do I need a magazine to validate my beauty or the beauty of Black women all over the world. It’s a shame that with all the billions of dollars that the Black community spends on hair products, makeup, etc. that a vast majority of Black women would salivate over a magazine that puts out an all black issue. You would think that we’d focus that energy on making changes in advertising by not sponsoring companies that do not focus their advertising on the Black community all year round.
    The solution is not having an all black issue it’s about seeing all kinds of beauty on a regular basis.

    Do you feel more beautiful because of Vogue Italia? I certainly don’t. Think about it ladies.

  22. I have two copies and a friend in Rome is sending one over. I am sharing copies with friends and will be giving a copy to my goddaughter to reflect on. I got my first copy at Heathrow on the way out to South Africa – never saw it on the newsstands there. I thought that it was a beautiful edition, but the adverts – apart from Naomi in the Pinko ad – was predictable/a commercial reality throughout Europe. They tried to so some editorial Spike Lee and the stuff on the american magazines – which was good (I bought an Italian dictionary!), but there could have been more like this. I think that of all the European Vogue issues to do this it should have been British Vogue – where all the really major cities are incredibly diverse. In fact the staff at Heathrow had been looking for British Vogue – I think that this confusion is because the text/mobile promotion here in the UK did not mention that it was Italian Vogue. We won’t be holding our breath to see how British Vogue responds – it has a different position in this more competitive market place than Italian Vogue does on the mainland. No I don’t need a magazine to tell me and my friends we are beautiful – but a lot of other folk out there need telling and reminding!

  23. i wasnt blown away by the magazine. it had an 80s feel to it(yuck!) and the ads pissed me off. Naomi and Tocarra had the best shots s few were just plain ugly. a issue full of unique women with distinctive looks was refreshing.

    btw: wanting to see a culturally and ethnically diverse models in magazines is not about making oneself feel beautiful. its about representation and acknowledgment because all kinds of women spend quite a bit on beauty items too.

    for anyone still looking for the magazine try contacting the bookstore manager and periodical manager. i got mine from a local borders and periodical manager said they laughed at her when she wanted to put the magazines up in the front display.

  24. I have mixed feelings about this issue. I like the idea of proving that Black models can sell (or in this case sell out) magazines, but it doesn’t mean anything if we aren’t supporting magazines that do present our image consistently. I’m with Maya who commented above about Colures magazine, here’s a recent interview with the editor of Colures http://allsafera.blogspot.com/search/label/Behind%20the%20Cover

    With the exception of Sesilee Lopes’ spread I was a little disappointed and underwhelmed. I think the hype and long wait for the issue took away from my initial interest and excitement. Not to mention it’s in Italian. The contrast between editorial content and ads is annoying at best.

    As we’ve already seen other magazines are following the “trend” and feature brown girls on the cover, but like any trend in the fashion industry it will be old and on the way out soon.

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