Vogue Italia Publishes Photos of Dutch Model in Blackface, Controversy Erupts

Magazine find itself in hot water over its "Abracadabra" spread

By Emily Popp Mar 10, 2014 8:03 PMTags
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Looks like Vogue Italia has found itself in hot water yet again.

Back in January, the magazine stirred controversy for segregating its street style photos, and now Vogue Italia is getting major backlash for publishing a spread titled "Abracadabra" in its March 2014 issue. The photos feature Dutch model Saskia de Brauw in face paint to darken her skin posing next to taxidermied African animals.

The photos were shot by industry veteran Stephen Meisel, and this definitely isn't the first time a fashion magazine has published blackface photos. Last May, Vogue Netherlands caused controversy for its "Heritage Heroes" spread featuring white model Querelle Jansen (also Dutch) posing in blackface. 

Our initial reaction was, "WTF?" Followed by, "Again? Really?" But even despite the angry response to last year's fiasco, it did happen again. It's beyond puzzling how these photos get greenlighted by industry veterans who have worked in the business for years and should know that this type of editorial shoot will obviously offend. 

Even if the magazine is clueless to the nuanced details of what makes this deeply offensive and wrong, clearly they can understand the basics of: white model + tribal face paint + taxidermied African animals = Not OK.

It's the year 2014, and yet obviously the fashion industry still isn't completely clear on the fact that blackface is never OK.