“Although I understand what Vogue Italia‘s intentions were, it was not executed correctly.”
By Lauren Adhav
On Thursday, Gigi Hadid took to Instagram Stories to offer an apology for her latest Vogue Italia cover, after what she explained as post-production editing prompted blackface allegations from commenters. Hadid posted a photo of herself after the shoot took place, noting how bronzed she actually was during the photoshoot. However, she said she doesn’t believe the cover was “executed correctly.”
The Statement reads.
This is a photo of me returning home from shooting my Italian Vogue cover on April 3… you can see the level I had been bronzed to on set that day. Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent in terms of creative direction 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post is out of my control fully. The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S. Klein has done for many years and I believe was what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively), BUT, although I understand what Vogue Italia’s intentions were, it was not executed correctly, and the concerns that have been brought up are valid.
I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouching/coloring of the cover. Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different. Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from anyone else, and I hope this can be an example to other magazines and teams in the future. There are real issues regarding representation in fashion–it’s our responsibility to acknowledge those issues and communicate through them to work towards a more diverse industry. xG
On Wednesday, Vogue Italia had debuted the cover for its May issue featuring Hadid on Instagram, shot by much-renowned fashion photographer Steven Klein (a Vogue Italia mainstay). Hadid also posted the photo on her Instagram, but has since taken it down.
“This is absolutely racist trash. Why are you photoshopping poor @gigihadid into a completely different human being. If you want a girl of darker skin tone then HIRE ONE,” one commenter wrote on Vogue Italia‘s photo.
And in addition to the allegations of racism, fans were also quick to point out that even her features seemed heavily altered in post-production.
“This doesn’t look like Gigi at all, not even her facial features. If you book a model, take the model as the beauty she or he is and don’t make her look like a completely different person,” another user wrote.
Vogue Italia is no stranger to courting racial controversy. Under the leadership of the late editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, the magazine printed a fashion editorial titled “Haute Mess” in 2012, which received criticism for its racial undertones. Two years later, an editorial featured images of a Dutch model in a shoot titled “Abracadabra,” in which she posed with taxidermied African animals in face paint; in that same year the publication also segregated its fashion week street style photos by race on its website.