Friday, 7 August 2015

Vogue Offends

I love Vogue, a lot, but I have two things to say on the September issue.

First of all, as soon as I ripped the white covering off (my boyfriend bought me a year's subscription for my birthday) - I frowned at the copy:

Voice of a generation

Is she?

Is a young millionaire who could have probably jumped on the property ladder aged 12 really the voice of a generation crippled with debt and doubting whether they'll ever be able to buy a house?

Secondly, inside I found a photoshoot to celebrate the season's opulent mood - luxe fabric and intricate detailing, layered to look like the collection of a Victorian adventurer. You can imagine the clothes spilling out of a heavy trunk, in a townhouse filled with exotic artefacts collected from far-flung travels...

The AW15/16 collections were heavily influenced by the Victorian era - high necklines, long skirts, Gothic black, Chinoiserie, print inspired William Morris designs etc.

I like it, but I think Vogue have allowed themselves to become too swept up in the theme. The editorial - entitled The Shining - reminds me of creepy photographs from the 1800s, showing indigenous people in tribal dress, staring glumly at the camera. (Although I've just Googled the photographer Paolo Roversi and that's his style- I've seen his sepia-toned photos of Natalia Vodianova before. She looks like a wild mermaid, dragged from the sea and put on display in a Victorian freakshow).

Next to the shot of a model sporting a tall, wrap-around headscarf, huge earrings and layered necklaces, the copy reads:

Regal meets tribal: it's all in the mix at Marni - elevated by Paula Galeeka's porcelain skin.

Thats strikes me as quite thoughtless. Thoughtless as in nobody thought that sliding the word 'elevated' between 'tribal' and 'porcelain skin' could be construed as culturally insensitive. It's basically like Vogue are suggesting tribal dress becomes fashion once it is taken from the Africans and put on a white face.

I don't think they're really saying this, but why didn't someone say 'that sounds a bit colonial, let's tweak it to be on the safe side'? Don't they worry about seeming old-fashioned and offensive?

I don't get what it means anyway. It's not much of a styling tip for the new season is it? Have porcelain skin. What's that got to do with fashion? It's not the 1800s and it's not the 80's either. Vogue is my favourite magazine, but if they're going to talk about skin colour, or the voice of a generation for that matter, they need to have something relevant to say.


  1. Preach!
    I was similarly pissed off when i saw 'voice of a generation'. Thank you for reminding me to cancel my Vogue subscription before it auto-renews next month! I don't think Vogue could be any more white and of a colonial/conservative mindset if it tried really. Its disappointing, but not really surprising- 5/7 Conde Nast board members are rich, white men.

    1. I get that it's an institution and we can expect it to be a little old-fashioned sometimes... but not when it comes to race!

    2. I completely agree, i don't know why people make allowances for them. I guess any one in a position to question them is too afraid to call them out on it.

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