Although model Saskia de Brauw does not have dark make-up on her face in all of these photos, it's hard not to experience a face-palm 'WTF, Vogue?' moment at this fashion shoot.
The spread - called Abracadabra - features in Vogue Italia's March issue, and was shot by photographer Steven Meisel. But despite the title, there is no great reveal, no magic - merely a hackneyed old theme that the fashion industry continues to plumb.
In the photos, Saskia is pictured in a series of images with darkened skin, while wearing ethnic clothes. Where she does not have dark make-up on, she is shown bearing African tribal markings.
HuffPost Style said they were 'confused' by the spread and questioned why a white model was used, versus a black one.
"Clearly the "Blackface is NEVER Ok" memo addressed to the fashion industry keeps getting lost in the mail, " wrote Julee Wilson.
Elizabeth Licata, writing on The Gloss stated: "We will never understand fashion’s adoration of blackface. No matter how many times designers, photographers, and magazines are called out for cultural appropriation and/or straight-up blackface editorials, they just keep doing it. This editorial, in the March 2014 edition of Italian Vogue, was shot by Stephen Meisel. Meisel is a respected industry veteran, not some 14-year-old art student trying to be “edgy” who doesn’t know any better."
Last year, Vogue Netherlands was condemned for a blackface spread called Heritage Heroes, featuring a white model.
Here are two more of the photos:
“It’s particularly troubling that blackface persists in a fashion industry that continues to display an overwhelming preference for white models,” Jezebel.com writer Jenna Sauers stated.
“Models of color — even successful ones — often face discrimination on the basis of their race. Black models are told by clients that they won’t be hired because they ‘already have’ a black model, black models talk about encountering makeup artists and hair stylists who refuse to work with them, and black models say they have a harder time breaking into an industry that accords them fewer opportunities than white models.”
“I find it weird when agents say, ‘You’re the only black girl booked for the show. Isn’t it great?’ Why is that great? I don’t know why people applaud designers for having just one ethnic model. It’s not like only one type of woman loves fashion.”
Here are some of the tweets reacting to the Vogue Italia shoot:
What do you think?