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Vogue Italia’s Latest “Tribal” Editorial Makes Us Wonder If They’re Actually Trolling Us

Not this again.

1. This is Vogue Italia’s March 2014 cover.

It features Dutch model Saskia de Brauw in high fashion looks and lots of face and body paint, posing with taxidermied animals.

2. The inside editorial by Steven Meisel, titled Abracadabra, portrays the white model in tribal warpaint.

3. And though there’s no explicit blackface in the pages, the shoot certainly does call up tired tropes about the “exotic Other.”

4. De Brauw’s limbs are messily bronzed, and she’s wearing vaguely ethnic facepaint.

5. The magazine’s blanket co-optation of “African” culture as a monolithic concept, defined as primitive, aggressive, and exotic is disappointing.

6. But it’s sadly not entirely surprising.

7. Fashion mags have a disappointing history of employing blackface and culturally appropriative images in their pages.

In 2011, Vogue Italia got in to trouble for referring to hoop earrings on their website as “slave earrings.” They later apologized for the gaffe.

8. In October 2009, white model Lara Stone posed for Vogue Paris in full black body paint.

9. In February 2013, Numéro magazine published an editorial titled “African Queen” (unbelievable), featuring a white model in blackface.

10. And a month later, Vogue Netherlands produced an editorial called “Heritage Heroes,” featuring models in full blackface.

Vogue Netherlands / Via forums.thefashionspot.com

11. When will these sorts of fashion editorials end?

When readers make a point with their wallets not to support magazines that engage in exploiting cultures to make a profit.

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