Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Italian Vogue's all black July issue

The fashion world has been buzzing about this issue for months. The photos are incredible, there are some interesting articles on travel, film, Spike Lee, Michelle Obama and a tribute to Yves Saint Laurent etc. It will take me a while to read said articles as they are in Italian and I get frustrated after the first few paragraphs (I cannot wait until I can just speak/read/write fluently).

I read an article in a British newspaper that said one reason designers are not using black models is because the country with the biggest growth in luxury goods is China. And black models “don’t sell” there.

So let me get this straight, a woman in communist China will decide not to spend the equivalent of $1800 on a Louis Vutton bag because Naomi Campbell is in the ad?

American Vogue also had an article about this issue. One person said the last decade was just bad for models period so it was worse for black models. Celebs are on the covers more (especially in the U.S). Plus designers are looking for “hangers,” 14 yearo-olds from Eastern Europe who do not “distract” from the clothes. Many feel this is actually bad for fashion. It’s booooring. Everyone looks the same. Where are the Asian or Indian models? Remember the early 90s, the 80s? Now poof all the models of color are gone as the world become smaller? Makes no sense.

I think things are changing. Linda Evangelista has been working non-stop so is Naomi “I have a bad temper” Campbell. Back in the 80s the average model was a 6 maybe even OH MY GOD an 8. Now they are 0 or 00. Linda, Naomi and Christy Turlington are grown women are def. bigger than a 2 or a 0. Glad to see they are back,

One fashion blogger asked if American Vogue would ever do an issue like this. No. Italian and French Vogue are way more fashion forward. Their readership is more specific. They can take more risks. Anna Wintour is working in a country that is a lot more conservative.

Regarding the photos themselves. Steven Meisel is one of my favorite photographers. The photos are gorgeous. There are a bunch of back in the day models like Veronica Webb, Pat Cleveland, Karen Alexander, Iman etc. along with the up and coming.

Ms. Campbell has a spread with the title “There’s Only One Naomi”. I know she has issues (my sister used to go to the same NYC based hairdresser) but she has been holding it down for 20 years. I mean even when she had to serve time (after being charged with assault) by working in sanitation, did she not look amazing on her way the station? Naomi, clearly those anger management classes you went to are not working, please get some help. Fashion needs you. ☺

I am not a big Tyra fan but here she’s striking. She doesn’t do a lot of high fashion, she is more commercial (Victoria Secrets, Sports Illustrated) but the way she is shot made me see her differently. Keep an eye out for Arlenis from the Dominican Republic. Stunning. She was discovered walking to classes in the D.R.

Will this issue change anything? Probably not but it does serve as a wake up call. Fashion is a multi-billion global business; therefore the models should reflect women from all over the globe. I hope there will be no need for “a very special issue” in the future because we will be seeing all types of models.

I liked what Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian Vogue, said when a reporter asked given the recent elections here and the Lega Nord results, was she worried about the reception to this issue? She said she didn’t care. That was their problem not hers. Amen.

Here is the New York Times article about the issue.


joanne at frutto della passione said...

I am a strange bird. I almost never buy fashion magazines. There is no real reason for it, it just worked out that way. So for this reason I had no idea that this issue was coming out. Tonight on my way home I'm going to keep a look out for it. Thanks for keeping in the real world!

Safera said...

When was the issue released in Italy, I'm in the UK and they still don't have it yet.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

joanne - you're welcome. I have a love/hate relationship with fashion mags. I like the creativity behind the world of fashion but feel like the last few years (like in Hollywood) the emphasis on the bottom line at all costs has hurt the artistic side.

Safera - It hit the stands here over the weekend. I read it's supposed to come out in America later this week, not sure about the rest of Europe.

glamah16 said...

Great. Yes China is the big luxery market. I work in the Cosmetics biz for a line for Women of Color and its very hard to sell my line to new retailers.And in the retail etablishments we are in we get trreated like an afterthought.But they know the power of the black US consumer and we get by.I studied Fashion at Parsons many moons ago and I have lost most interest in it because it is boring.The industry is boring . I would love this issue. Wonder if I can find it here. Probaly and it will cost an arm and a leg.I have this one picture in my cubilce from Imans book. Its a great shot of all the black supermodels dressed in black. I love that shot and look at it evertyday for some sort of inspiration.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm not surprised to hear this about China. From what I've read and the conversations I've had from Chinese people who've come to the U.S., racism of all sorts is completely rampant there (including against different Chinese nationalities). I found that to be true when I lived in Russia, too, although skin color wasn't the issue as much as, again, nationality was.

With these mega empires that are not a mix of immigrants but of indigenous peoples, for the most part, there seems to be a different kind of struggle for reaching the "top" and it seems to become a breeding ground for racist attitudes. Very sad.

I'm going to see if our outlets that sell international media have this vogue - I'd be interested to see it.

Anonymous said...

What a perfect quote from Franca Sozzani! Love it.

Do you find a lot of racism in Italy? I know that there is much friction in the Northern Italy view of Southern Italy (yet, not the other way around)and wondered if there was a current of racism as well. Of course, every country has it, but I wonder if it can be as wide open and prevalent as it can be in the US.


bleeding espresso said...

Thanks for writing on this; I never buy fashion mags, but I'd like to get a copy of this one...and hopefully someday I can show my daughter or some other unborn entity how ridiculous it *used* to be that they had to do special issues like this. The photos look absolutely stunning.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

glamah16 - I would assume one of the bigger bookstores or magazine stands would sell it. I'm fascinated by China being a communist country where the luxury market has exploded. Fendi held a fashion show on the Great Wall! I agree fashion has been a big snore lately but maybe we are entering a new era.

jen - very interesting point. I've read about those issues in China and Russia...countries where the number of millionaires and billionaires is growing very quickly.

sue - that is a very complicated question. I haven't been here long enough to give an answer justice. I think like most places in Europe (and really in the states as well but people like to pretend we don't have class issues) class is a bigger issue. If I were a poor immigrant from a "third world" country of course my experience here would be different. I have met a few black expats here mostly from the UK of West Indian or African descent who have lived in the U.S. They felt more racism in the U.S. America has such a different history (slavery/jim crow/civil rights) than Italy so it's apples to oranges. Hope that kinda answers your question.

bleeding espresso - I agree. While I love the photography, I really hope there are no more "special issues".

Amanda said...

nyc/caribbean ragazza,

I've ran into you a couple of times and it seems like you're very interested in fashion.

In fact, all of you guys seem really into this issue, and me being a woman of color I think that it's great. If you really want to see a black woman who is doing her thing then you should check out Toyota's "If Looks Could Kill" webisodes. Bianca is someone who should have DEFINITEY been in this months Vogue issue.

She's an aspiring fashion assistant, (played by Femi Emiola, Wicked Wicked Games), who is a prime example of a woman who’s got it going on. I’m talking the dream job, a man who’s got all the ladies drooling, and the spice to keep it all together when hell hits the fan. I work for Toyota by the way, so you know I've got the scoop. Think James Bond meets Sanaa Lathan in “Something New”, Bianca is the girl who isn’t afraid to run in her Louboutin heels!

Link: http://www.iflookscouldkill.com

You’ll have to see what I’m talking about. Don’t forget to check out the fourth episode—Family Jewels—which is available today (7/7). This girl is definitely a ride or die chick, especially when it comes to family. Mess with them and you’re definitely messing with her. You’re probably going to get reeled in so don’t be surprised.

After reading the comments, I figured this would be something that you guys would be interested in. Don't forget to hit me up and let me know what you think, or if anyone else has questions or comments about it as well.

Looking forward to the chit chat!

Amanda Clouden
ILCK Ambassador

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for a copy of this magazine everywhere. I finally found a Barnes and Noble in the more affluent part of town that carries the magazine in Atlanta, but the July issue isn't in, yet. It's funny because the guy who works at the bookstore told me that he has gotten about 500 calls within the last couple of days from people specifically asking for this one particular issue. He said the number of phone calls that he was receiving was driving him crazy. LOL He said that it wouldn't be in for a couple of weeks. Based upon what he told me, my chances of snagging a copy when it arrives at this store is slim to none so as a backup, I sent an e-mail to Vogue directly to see if I could order a couple of copies directly from the source. Wish me luck.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Ms. ATL - 500 calls?! I wonder if Vogue Italia had any idea the demand would be so strong in the States. Several of my friends are also trying to track down issues. I wonder if they can run more copies now or is it too late. It's ironic, black covers "don't sell" and this might end up being the biggest seller in history, at least in the States. Good luck.

Kataroma said...

Wow - I have to get a copy of this to read in the hospital. I don't generally buy fashion mags (I'm on more of an H&M budget!) but I need some light fare to read while confined in bed - also it will be nice to show my new daughter as soon as she's born!

Re China - what's strange about all this talk of courting the Chinese market is that Asian models are also few and far between in fashion mags these days - not just black models. Do the Chinese not want to see someone who looks vaguely like them modelling the latest Fendi bag or whatever?

I agree about Russia - I lived there for 15 months about 10 years ago and was pretty shocked at the racism there (like someone on the metro in Moscow pointing to an American black friend of mine and telling his 5 year old son that she looked like a monkey.) On the other hand, I'm also shocked by the racism here in Italy particularly towards EAstern Europeans (somewhat ironically!), Middle Easterners and Africans. As a person from a 1st world country I think you're somewhat immune.

Anyway bravo Italian vogue for bringing attention to this issue. :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Kataroma - I was shocked to read that even in Asian countries Asian models are rare seen. WTH?

regarding that incident in Russian, why would someone say that about a child? I really can't wrap my head around that.

The gov't here needs to start focusing on fixing problems instead of blaming everything on immigrants. I think it's pretty simple, if you are here from another country illegally and commit a crime, bye-bye. The majority of the immigrants who are here, came here legally and contribute to society. Stop making them the scapegoats. As long as they follow the laws of the land (i.e. no honor killings or female mutilation), let them be.

wordtryst said...

Wow. I haven't bought fashion magazines in ages, but I'd like to get my hands on this one.

Claudia said...

I'll have to head to BN or Borders and see if they have it in stock.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Wordtyrst and Claudia - If you can find it, it's worth it. I think it will be a collectors item.

Anali said...

I'm still looking for this issue! Hopefully I can find one soon!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

anali - good luck! I heard the issues is selling out quickly even thought Italian Vogue printed more issues than usual.

Anonymous said...

Here's a quick update. The magazine started to hit stores in the US within the past week. I didn't make it to Barnes and Noble in my area before they put them on the shelf. I did manage to obtain copies, but I had to win them on ebay. The bids have been as low as $35 dollars and as high as $61 dollars. Talk about a big markup, huh! Anyone who can get a couple of copies off the newstand and sell them, will make a pretty penny. I lucked out and managed to snag one magazine for $29 and some change because one of the sellers listed the item wrong and it was a buy it now item. I paid $36 dollars for the second magazine. I think you're right, Ragazza, that this magazine will be a collectors item. Also apparently Vogue printed more copies of the issue with Naomi Campbell on the front cover. If you can get the whole set of four and hold on to them for a while, this could be a good investment if you can keep the copies in mint condition. Just a thought.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Ms. ATL - wow. I read that one newsstand in NYC had over 100 copies and sold out in minutes.

Enjoy your mags.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is my last post about the magazine, Ragazza. I thought that you might find this to be a bit interesting. So, I was delighted to have received my magazines today and I noticed something odd on the insert, it said the following "BLACK ISSUE: THE MOST WANTED ISSUE EVER. FIRST REPRINT". Although I was happy to finally get my magazines, I was a bit disappointed because it wasn't a magazine from the first printing. Apparently since they had such a huge request for this issue, Vogue decided to print additional copies to meet the requests from the masses. I wonder how many additional copies were printed? Naturally, a reprint will warrent a lower price in the resell marketplace than an first print. I ordered a few additional copies with the hopes of selling them for a larger profit at a later date, but if they keep printing additional copies, I may have to hold these copies for a few years.

Also, J Zay is on the front cover of the July Edition of L'umo Vogue? Humm.


Anonymous said...

Opps, I meant to say J Zay is on the front cover of the July Edition of "L'uomo"/Mens Italian Vogue.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Ms. ATL - I saw the Jay Z cover. There was a story in WWD about how many issues they reprinted. I don't remember.

La Reine said...

I actually got someone to get me the Italian version. Its that bad.
I can't read a lick of Italian....

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

La reine - It's okay. :) You don't need to know Italian to understand the fantastic photos. enjoy.

Cynthi@ said...

I own one and i love it. It was one of the most beautiful issues ever. Arlenis Sosa is Dominican like me, hooray for her!!! This is the first time I read your blog and it's very interesting, congrats! So cool you live in Rome, I live in Milan!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

cynthi@ - ciao and grazie!

I think we'll be seeing a lot of Arlenis.

Do you get to go home often? I was thinking about going to St. Martin during the winter to see my family. The tickets were outrageous. When I lived in L.A. flying home for Christmas was over $1200, and that was a coach ticket. I'm going to see how much the tickets are during the off season. I need to get back to the island soon.

Cynthi@ said...

oooh yes, we def. will see muc more of her...i read some goosip about her being the new face of Lancome, nothing reliable unfortunately! I've been in St. Martin!!! one of the most beautiful islands on the Caribbean.Oh thank God i am very lucky because I get to visit my family during the summer and christmas (i'm 20 btw) I study fashion here. :) kisses

onno david said...

It was my pleasure to visit your blog. I thinks it is wonderful that this issue was done. I mean the black models have straight unrealistic hair and thin noses very euro looking just with dark skin and fuller lips. I'd love to see more kinky haired models with lovely full noses looks that are beautiful yet encompasses how many black women look not just some.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

onno - thanks for visiting. I agree there could be more diversity among models of color. We'll see what happens. Hollis has natural hair. Sometimes she wears it straight or a wig but I've seen spread with her hair natural.