September is my favorite time of year as a Fashion Assistant. Why? Besides my dying anticipation for Fashion Week (just started getting invites – so excited!), it’s the largest, most important issue for most Fashion books.
I got a sneak peek at a few of the September fashion spreads and (for the most part) love what I see. Some stories have caused quite a lot of controversy and heated debates in the office, but I’ll let you be the judge.
Harper’s Bazaar’s September issue.
Agyness Deyn channels Micheal Jackson for a tribute to his legendary style
on a cover for subscriber’s only photographed by Terry Richardson
. In the corresponding spread, she recreates such iconic moments as Thriller and the Grammy’s wearing his glittery glove, the military jacket and of course, the loafers. Inside the issue, Jean-Paul Goude
shoots Naomi Campbell on an African safari in jungle-inspired looks replete with elephants and monkeys.
I’m partial to the Safari shoot as Naomi is truly the most beautiful specimen in the human race. And while Tyra Banks is applauding Eva from ANTM for taking pictures with a spider, Naomi is riding an elephant and posing on top of an alligator. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a real model.
But, I do understand the criticism. Folks at the job are complaining that shooting an African-American woman in the jungle recalls dangerous stereotypes that liken black females to animals. I don’t agree that Bazaar is typecasting black models or insinuating that black women are animalistic. (I pray that we’ve evolved past that stage.)
However, I do recognize that perception is everything. A racist mind could interpret these images to mean black women are barbaric or less than human. Since fashion editorial spreads are a form of art and art is open to interpretation, do we criticize the spread itself or the racists that interpret the spread negatively? Just a thought.
Agyness Deyn as Michael Jackson has proven to be just as controversial. I don’t necessarily agree with my co-workers that a black model should have been cast as Michael (by the time he passed, Michael was as pale as they come…said respectfully, of course). I just don’t feel Agyness Deyn was the right model for the job. There’s no energy, movement or life to Agyness’ poses and that’s what we all loved about Michael. Do you agree?