Tag: vogue

VOGUE & THE MISSING COVER GIRLS OF COLOR

upton

the basis of this blog began as intention to shed light on models of color and to examine, as well as question the ways we, people of color, are represented in fashion through perceptions of beauty. in the years it has taken to build this site through an audience and through the greater energy that has elevated a dialogue of fashion- i’ve spent time watching. from just about everywhere on the internet, i’ve pulled references, we’ve looked at full editorials & discussed just about every cover internationally by now. in my pursuit to evolve and remain sharp through selection of content, i’ve been looking for a feeling- searching for content that resonates in the lane of our existing dialogue, but also adds a new layer of examination. this idea of ‘american’, the concept of a ‘dream’, the impact of the ‘supermodel’- all of these elements have been recurring themes in this space and now these claims, these cultural examinations will be supported by true life events. to scratch the surface of observation hastily, american vogue covers have been distorted through excessive, often times unnecessary, amounts of retouching, questionable cover choices and stiffened personalities, public figures and actresses alike. while the above seen cover is not one of those images, the cover girl & choice to allow her the honor of such does have me thinking.

let’s be very clear with this piece, i support anyone winning on any level through hard work and dedication. i would also like to say that i very clearly understand that models are often caught in the crossfire of bad publication choices, questionable styling, offensive imagery & have, for many years, basically been used and also abused as props. this blog was founded on the sole inspiration of models- the culture in which they have derived and their ability to affect change through presence. while i understand the possibility of this abuse, i also understand that victories can be won with proper utilization of such platforms in the media. for me, fashion is and will always be about imagination, style and photography- the capturing of such moments through great design and beautiful beings. let’s be clear about all of that. this is in no way directed to, or intended to misjudge or unfairly make claims against the successes nor the failures of kate upton, as a woman with a career. or any other model for that matter that has been cast, chosen or spotlighted in the realm of fashion to sell products. this, however, is a personal response and reaction to the ways in which vogue and other components of the media have misused imagery as well as their role of power, to represent our culture as americans. as technology and the internet have proven, we the consumers now have the power. if we the people don’t buy it, they- those people have to change it.

for many years, we’ve sat as a fashion audience and watched, more often have we waited; to see faces of models grace our fashion magazines. for many years, we’ve sat as a fashion audience to see faces of color grace more of our fashion covers. for far too long have we longed to see models of color grace our fashion covers, in a way that is normalized or represents us as far more than just a passing trend or a limited edition cover series. for too long have we sat as other models in line were left as bench warmers on agency walls, while porcelain faced, blue eyed, blonde haired props were used dictating to us, americans, what america is. these publishers, advertisers and image makers continue to sell us a fabricated belief of what is ‘american’. while this is specifically about color, the real liberal issue at hand is this- america is no longer a blonde haired, blue eyed anything. the level of diversification that we have grown into in the states is much more widely known more now than it has ever been. it is just as important to discuss the ways in which we are defined in america, as americans, as a diversified population of humans that are still fighting for equal rights. how are we being represented? more specifically, how are we not being represented? it’s no secret, readers of fashion magazines, as well as innocent by-standers who can’t tell the differences between mossimo & moschino, know the rarity of seeing models grace the covers of american vogue. these covers go to actresses or pop stars making cameos for films or musical projects. when women of color finally do make the grade, the covers are lackluster- the put halle berry in some fucked up wig from the 20’s, they ruin michelle obama with bad retouching and we’re supposed to be satisfied with these ‘moments’;  moments being instant, short lived, forgettable. publicatons understand the use of language, it’s plastered on their covers every month, sound bitten for their twitter feeds & chopped for their blogs on their website and official accounts from social media subsidiaries. to break it down further, i mean moments– as insignificant.

kate upton is the commercialized vision of the all-american girl, but doesn’t so much resemble what america truly is. she represents some of what american advertisers and publishers want you to buy into as the defining american dream. it’s as if upton is packaged like a big mac, or a barbie, complete with a white picket fence- except this barbie has measurements of 33-25-36, stands 5’10” and is aged at a ripe 20 years old. upton has appeared twice on the cover of sports illustrated, the first time being hailed as rookie of the year and the second she appeared topless in a parka against a green screened image of the antarctic. with a string of less than impressive, minor movie roles and cameos under her belt, upton is signed to super agency, IMG- the end all be all of modeling agencies for the baddest chicks in the game. her marketability has reached critical mass, as she’s booked campaigns as a guess girl, while gracing the covers of GQ, esquire, cosmopolitan, italian vogue, british vogue and for the cover month of may, upton graced the cover of harper’s bazaar in greece, vietnam and korea. upton’s childhood is that idea of american dreams- born in michigan, attended private school in florida. mother was a texas tennis champ & her father was a high school athletics director. her uncle is a U.S. representative of congress and her great grandfather was co-founder of appliance manufacturing corporation giant, whirlpool.

as seen on her american vogue cover, as well as the accompanying editorial, kate upton is marketed in the likeness of the ultimate american icon, marilyn monroe. busty and blonde with a likeable personality, vogue enters dangerous territory with their light hearted use of the title, ‘supermodel’. the true definition of supermodel is cross marketability- think cindy crawford. if any female of modern times can be credited as the all-american girl and supermodel, cindy is that chick. she was everywhere from pepsi to versace and we bought it. supermodels affect culture, they shift perceptions by their ability to influence trends and ultimately change the aesthetic for what we define as ‘beauty’. supermodels never die, but during these trying times of fashion globalization, supermodels no longer exist. they can no longer be born in today’s industry, because the industry can’t afford to grant that level of influence to models like they did in the 90’s. while kate upton has displayed cross marketability, it seems pre-mature to call her a supermodel. they say art imitates life, or life imitates art- whatever the case, with all respect to kate upton- the american girl is different now. break down the idea of blonde hair, blue eyed- you think of golden blonde beyonce, or blue eyed vanessa williams. we’re too diversified to be limited to the idea of just white girls, or even to be restricted to the idea of just brown skin. to peg something as american would be to honor the combined races and ethnicity of we the people. the idea of a dream as it relates to kate upton is almost like a fantasy, a dream is just a dream- they don’t always come true. the use of language, as referenced to kate upton as a major pawn in the game of mass advertising is interesting. because it’s such an antiquated ideology. we need innovation, we need something that’s gonna change the game. flip the switch on a classic, because we want re-invention- with respect to the past. that past is where we were, represent where we are. give us some flavor, not a dusted perception of days of old. vogue, can you please represent us as americans… and this time all of us?

visit vogue.com to view kate upton’s full feature
cover shot by mario testino

editorialesque » karlie kloss for vogue

american vogue darling, karlie kloss of next models ny blazes the september issue of vogue through the lens of mario testino. paying tribute to fashion’s recent eastern influence, kloss appears wig’ed & wonderful for the issue in a dramatic spread that is jawdropping by page number. i’ve always said, if one american supermodel deserves to be on the cover of american vogue, a feat which very rarely ever happens, that girl should be karlie kloss. dominating runway, campaigns & yes, editorial- kloss has demonstrated skill unlike any other female model in the game recently. for the september issue, kloss is seen in a chinese setting & looks ravishing as the main chick in her own solo spread, but it makes me wonder- why was an asian model not used for this spread?  was putting karlie in the spread an attempt to make china more acceptable in the american market? while a crop of asian models appears for vogue china, isn’t fashion diversification much more successful when it’s seen across the board? overall, karlie has undeniable photographic presence & shines in the spread- but i can’t help but think how dope this would’ve been with liu wen or shu pei. images by mario testino, with styling by tonne goodman.

imagesource | tfs

kate moss for vogue, september

the level of importance & status symbol that an american vogue cover represents is something very interesting, a paradox of sorts. in the context of fashion & fashion publication, it’s the most anticipated cover of the year. any chick that graces the cover of american vogue is of importance in fashion; as so christened by anna wintour herself. the power of wintour has been greatly documented & at this point is of known existence to those inside & outside of the fashion world. often shot by mario testino, which is the case for the september cover this year; british supermodel kate moss appears for the american fashion bible, outfitted in an alexander mcqueen gown & is poised as the magazine’s headlining feature for her wedding- which happened in july. one aspect i despise of american vogue is the fact that models rarely grace the cover. while i understand completely that the american publication market is heavily saturated with the presence of actresses, i wonder if the ‘hollywood it girl’ phase will ever die down. last year, giesle bundchen graced the cover & with kate appearing this year- it’s obvious that american vogue is making a fashion statement with a predictable edge & even less interesting end result. no shade to gisele or kate, by any means; but shouldn’t american based publications represent american girls & more specifically american female models? while fashion kids around the world have hoped for more models on american vogue covers; it seems as though this fulfills that expectation but poorly. represented by IMG, kate remains one of the most powerful model forces in fashion & to see her grace the cover is no surprise to any of us. with 788 pages, im looking forward to the editorial content of this issue. at the end of the day, vogue leads & others follow; i hope that a model resurgence is on the verge for american vogue because half of the american covers i see, i don’t post here for the simple fact that they infringe on the fashion tip im looking to represent. it’s nice to see these hollywood hoes fall back for once. fashion belongs to the models.

imagesource | tfs

editorialesque » america the beautiful by vogue

through the lens of craig mcdean, american vogue shows their patriotic side for their june issue; as tonne goodman styles this all-american themed editorial. american female models, karlie kloss & arizona muse of next models ny are joined by brazilian female models isabeli fontana & raquel zimmerman as british red-head model icon, karen elson also joins the cast. represented by women model management, karen elson is an american vogue favorite while isabeli graces the june cover of french vogue. represented by DNA models, raquel zimmermann is also a favorite of american vogue & is seen splashed across this month’s issue in the scuba-styled section of the spread. i love the feel of casual & seemingly undone glamour that is felt; though casual the spread is still very glamourous & thoughtfully executed. while i feel as though the american theme could’ve been more sharp in terms of location, had an outdoor location be considered; i love the aspects of wilderness that are added to the spreads studio setting. from the aged wood, to the leaves on the studio ground- this is a great concept that was well produced & the girls shine like stars. though not particularly groundbreaking, i admire the preservation of classic american style. great set of girls, but why not do an all-american model cast? & where’s joan? we could use some color.

imagesource | tfs

the evolution of edward enninful

though fashion is often thought to be a revolving door of an industry, there are a few players who are thought to be creative MVP’s. edward enninful is among that set of key players; his work has largely contributed to the evolution of fashion & as announced this morning, another chapter will soon unfold. in allowing fashion to transcend into larger, more strongly developed forms; edward enninful has been a force in the fashion game since 1991, at the age of 18, when he became the youngest ever fashion editor of i-D magazine. enninful’s visionary skill set is the sort of brainchild beind next level advertising seen for brands like comme des garçons, christian dior, dolce & gabbana, céline, lanvin, mulberry, giorgio armani, valentino, jil sander, calvin klein, fendi, alessandro dell’acqua, adidas, the gap, hugo boss, missoni, lancome, MAC, blumarine, anna molinari, aquascutum, diesel & H&M. with his wide ranged portfolio, enninful has styled, directed & reinvented just about every corner of fashion from commercial retail to supermodel castings & high end editorial. born in ghana & raised in the UK, edward is still an prominent editor for i-D magazine more than 17 years later. as a nearly unstoppable creative force edward has worked with just about every fashion photographer in the game including steven meisel, richard burbridge, craig mcdean, annie leibovitz, steven klein, mert + marcus, mario sorrenti, paolo roversi, inez + vinoodh, terry richardson, patrick demarchelier, emma summerton, mario testino, mikael jansson & michael thompson. edward’s styling dominance can be seen through his contributing editor roles at italian vogue, which began in 1998, leading to his contributing role at american vogue in 2005; as well as editor contributions at l’uomo vogue & vogue japan. described, by title, as a stylist; enninful has proven to be much more beyond that, possessing an indescribable talent for what defines the new, now & next phases of fashion on all levels. in this new, next phase of edward’s tremendously inspiring career, he will take on yet another publication, this time lending his vision to W magazine as their new fashion & style director, succeeding alex white. with W magazine’s transitional year of re-introduction already in the books, logo changes & all, i expect that W will readily breakthrough with the help of enninful on board. with his new role in effect as of may 1, W editor, stefano tonchi has described enninful as “incredibly joyous” & adds, “i’m thrilled that edward is joining our team, and am confident that he will bring a great deal of creativity, professionalism, and industry knowledge with him.” with his work at W on the horizon, edward will be shifting gears & ending his contributing roles at both italian & american vogue in order to fulfill his duties as fashion director. edward has already crafted an enviable career & his work with W will no doubt be some of his greatest. a proven power player & creative cornerstone of style & image- enninful is respected & admired in the world of fashion publication. on his creative approach, edward says, “i tackle each project as if it’s the last”.

the fashion report: seventy-four

editorialesque » gangs of new york by vogue

what yo’ name iz? kasia struss, karlie kloss, abbey lee kershaw,
jourdan dunn, arlenis sosa, sessilee lopez, hyoni kang, kate somers, nimue smit, jana knauerova, kendra spears,
tao okamoto, jac jagaciak, hannah holman, anna de rijk, julia hafstrom, mirte maas, patricia van der vliet, jacquelyn jablonski,
frida gustavsson, gwen loos, ajak deng, ming xi, joan smalls, donna loos, fei fei sun, chantal stafford-abbot,
luisa bianchin, britt maren, arizona muse, julian saner, so young kang,
anais mali, julian johansen, chanel iman

in a powerhouse cast of just about every bad bitch in the game, american vogue flexes it’s model casting muscle for the february 2011 issue while highlighting new york based designers. through the impeccable styling vision of grace coddington, mario testino shoots a perfected set of images that represent the essence of vogue. in honor of my female model friday concept, i felt it very necessary to save this spread for posting & present it to those who have not seen it, today. each model is perfectly matched to each design collection & im blown away by how powerful the cast is. it looks like vogue is swinging into the new year, full force. with hair & make-up byorlando pita & linda cantello the spread, the cast alone- speaks for itself.

imagesource | tfs