What’s the Point?: Is Vogue Italia’s “Haute Mess” Issue Offensive?

March 9, 2012  |  

From StyleBlazer.com.

Just a few weeks ago, we were celebrating the fact that Vogue Italia was featuring Joan Smalls, a model of color, on the cover of this month’s issue, the first woman of color to grace the magazine after four years.

Turns, out we may have to take that praise right back because the actual “Haute Mess” spread is a bit stereotypical at best. Looking at the pictures, which seem like they could come straight out of the movie “BAPS”, you just have to wonder, what messages was Vogue Italia trying to send?

Check out the pics at StyleBlazer.com and let us know what you think.

Are these images too much?

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  • Elegance

    I don’t find it offensive. These styles are a hot mess! What is sad is that people half-way around the world can see how silly some of us look. It makes all of us look bad. I just make sure I don’t look like these women. Pointing out bad fashion misses is not a new thing in fashion magazines people! You’re just offended because these styles are more likely to be seen on Black women. Most fashion faux pas articles are about White celebrities (e.g., Britany Spears, Lindsay Lohan etc.).

  • My personal opinion is this, and I only have one statement. Poorly executed editorial they would have done better hiring my fav shuttebug David Lachapelle. Lachapelle has a quick eye, and genius for photographic wit and humor. This editorial should have came off very ‘tongue in cheek’, but with spotlight on designer items. I would have envisioned a editorial theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland  meets Compton’ , satirical fantasy and beauty-meeting the grit of urban based life styles. Instead we have a editorial that basically has no idea what to do with the subject matter. The photographs seem cheap and deliriously lazy in conceptualization. Thats it,….I am going to step down of my soap box. I don’t think the editorial had anything to do with racism, but more to do with innate arrogance. When one knows nothing of a culture, hire people that do,the end result will be an AUTHENTIC view into their lives, not a cheap hack just to stimulate  ’champagne and caviar’ conversation. I remember when I was young, my nana made this comment to a young lady, and it stuck with me. ” You cant appreciate anything or anyone , while looking down your nose at them”. This particular editorial makes this point so eloquently.    I talk about it on my blog : http://seaki.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/my-thoughts-vogue-italias-haute-mess-is-a-hot-mess-back-to-the-drawing-board/

  • Grl

    I didn’t see anything offensive, these are “haute messes” if you ask me. The only people that I think would be offended, are the ones who actually dress like this and think it’s cute. IJS but, I also think some of the styles are creative more than anything just something you would NOT wear in public but only in a magazine, but to each it’s on!

  • tastythoughts

    why would i be offended at a fashion magazine showing me what a haute fashion mess looks like?

  • TK

    This doesn’t offend me, I don’t identify with these images at all, I don’t see myself this way.

  • Djka

    I tought I was looking at slme picture frome the site ” NoWayGirl” did not felt offended at all, this is reality with i.stead of black lady wearing this hotmess, they fitted those on white gril. Anyway, I dont think this is racsist, just an assembly of what hot mess can can look like, either way if you’re rich or poor…

  • MixedUpInVegas

    It would be reaching to find this offensive.  Ridiculous, yes!  Offensive, no.

  • mug

    Reminds me more of Pink Flamingos than anything.

  • Milesb

    Those stereotypes are not just representative of black women, but also some hispanic women. This is also true of some asian women, as it relates to makeup and nail trends. This list goes on. The hair coloring is reflective of punk fashions and styles most exhibited by whites as well blacks. I’m just saying that by women of color getting offended by this representation of “hot mess”-ness is only a reflections of what they see in themselves. Everyone is a victim of looking foolish at times, in ways shown by Vogue and others that are not, but it’s nothing to get in a ruffle about.



  • Danaya

    Honestly I don’t see anything offensive about it because it doesn’t represent me or anyone that I know personally. It just seems as though they put a twist to the images that they seen on the website hotmess.com or whatever it is! If you ask me it is a hotmess and a shameful mess smh


    Uh no! cuz these women ARE a hot a** mess. stop trying to make something outta nothing.

  • Trezeaphillips

    Whether its on vogue italia or nowaygirl or hotghettomess (?) it is a haute mess. More so by doing it with white women u can really see just how terrible and ridiculous the US ratchet trend is. But is it offensive and racist?? Nah dont think so, if anything the photoshoot director and magazine should reference Nowaygirl.com for the inspiration…