At this point, someone’s just playing crazy at these fashion magazines.
In the new issue of Vogue Italia, in a spread called Abrecadabra, model Saskia de Brauw poses in African-inspired headdresses and wraps with her face painted to make her dark. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, when de Brauw is not wearing brown face in the spread by photog great Steven Meisel, she’s “playing” with animals, including a fake lion, wildebeests and more while wearing gele-inspired looks and African-inspired print designer threads. Her face paint, clearly supposed to be a play on the facial markings and paintings that different ethnic groups around the continent wear also stuck out to me.
The constant desire to depict African culture in fashion spreads is not a bad thing at all, but when are folks actually going to pick up the phone and call African/African-American models for these things? And at the same time, do these spreads have to be so caricature-driven? You can show love to the Ankara/wax dutch prints that are stamped all over clothing now and show love to the continent at the same time without having homegirl rolling around with animals. Just saying. Too many photoshoot spreads go downhill fast when they’re so hellbent on trying to portray only an extreme or stereotype. I wouldn’t say I’m offended (which was the question posed by the Huffington Post), but I was definitely left feeling a bit uncomfortable by the shoot. How about you? Check out more of the images and share your thoughts.