not in the issue but an old picture of Naomi- thats why there can only only be 1Black is the new…well—Black.
In fashion, we are always looking for the next big trend or idea. We continue to search for what’s in and what’s out. Who’s wearing what by whom? It’s all about being new and innovative. Thought-provoking and sometimes playful. If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to receive your monthly fashion bible to know what’s going on in and behind the scenes in the fashion industry. Some may flock to other magazines but my fashion handbook is Vogue. I love Vogue for its creativity and beautiful spreads month after month. This is a publication where fashion truly meets art and luxury. Every story is carefully arranged and articulated to bring a new manner of portraying pieces of a designer’s collections and ideas. When I can’t get enough from the magazine, I stay up-to-date online through sites like FabSugar—of course.
I begin staring at my July issue of Vogue with Nicole Kidman on the cover. I already knew it was going to be a fulfilling issue just as others that have featured Kidman on the cover. I go through this issue carefully studying the articles and editorials and then I am caught off guard by a beautiful spread featuring Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, and Arlenis Sosa posing the question, “Is Fashion Racist?” Vicki Woods tackles this issue on the lack of diversity on the runways. This one I am sure is bound to cause a frenzy of responses.
Impressed by the article and finally done with the issue, I continue with my daily fix of fashion by going online. I notice a link discussing the July issue of Italian Vogue a.k.a. The Black Issue. What is this? Headlines read: July 2008 issue of Italian Vogue will feature exclusively black models for the entire issue. Not only is this exciting but historical. “This idea came about as a reaction to the models of today,” says editor of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani. “I go to a fashion show, and every girl is blond and blue-eyed, and they all walk the same and look the same. I thought we needed to break away from this type of thing. There are so many beautiful black women not being used.”
I immediately start my quest to get my hands on a copy of this Black Vogue. Is it a myth? Would a magazine be so bold as to only feature black models? This can’t be true…GASP—it is!
I waited weeks and weeks. Vogue Italia had yet to hit newsstands in the United States. I have to purchase a copy on e-Bay. It didn’t matter, as long as I get a hold of a copy.
More days go by. I was so excited to finally receive my copy. When reports first came out about the Black Vogue, there was a mystery on who would be on the cover. I wanted my favorite model Liya Kebede who is on the original copy, but there is a four-page spread that allow for different covers. I have a reprint with Naomi on the cover. I torn the package open and was going through the issue before I could even walk in the house from the mailbox. The cost totaled $15.95 compared to American Vogue $3.99, but worth every penny.
Four-Pages of the Cover
Black is Beautiful
As I flip through the first couple of pages, I was disappointed with the advertisements and society pages which featured mainly white models, but it's Italia, it was expected. Nothing anyone can do about the advertisements, maybe this issue will persuade advertisers to use more black models. There were some ads that featured Black models like Naomi Campbell for Pinko and Yamamay-which are not enough but a start.
Even though the articles were in Italian (duh) I was able to translate the messages on a beginner’s level. I appreciated the piece on Yves St. Laurent who used Iman as his muse back in the day and featured black models in his shows. He was a true innovator, a legend. He will be missed.
Yves St. Laurent with Black Muse
I loved the feature articles on Spike Lee's new film and the feature promoting HBO's The Black List. I appreciated how Vogue Italia recognized magazines that always feature Black models such as Essence and Ebony.
The format was different than what I'm use to with American Vogue, but I loved this section titled "you have a go-see" How amazing that such young models who are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry are featured with their portfolio and measurements. It was a great way for them to promote their careers. Lily Taylor was my favorite.
A lot of the spreads were truly mesmerizing. If only American Vogue could offer such stunning and breathtaking imagery of Black models such as the spreads in Vogue Italia. The beauty shoot by Dusan Reljin was fierce. The spread, Modern Luxe by Steven Meisel featuring Alek Wek, Sessilee Lopez, and Veronica Webb left a lasting impression. Each model gave a distinctive gaze and really brought out the appeal from the clothing. Some models I recognized, others I didn’t. They all looked wonderful. Liya and Veronica Webb rocked it. Iman! Can she be any classier? I love her. Not a big fan of Chanel Iman, but she definitely left her mark.
This issue left no stone—or should I say model unrevealed.
A 15-page spread featuring the ever so alluring Naomi Campbell was so provocative. She shows no signs of slowing down.
The issue even took a trip down memory lane as it highlighted the career of Donyale Luna, the first Black supermodel. It goes on to feature Carol La Brie and Pat Cleveland. If you don’t know who these ladies are, look them up. They are definitely worth the research.
I can go on and on about July 2008’s issue of Vogue Italia-, but I’ll save some for you to discover. Find a copy of this memorable issue; it will go down as a collector’s item.