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Vogue Netherlands is the latest fashion magazine to publish a ‘blackface’ editorial. The spread in question, ‘Heritage Heroes,’ is a retrospective piece featuring Marc Jacobs‘s past work for Louis Vuitton.
Why a white model had to be painted black for such a project is unknown. Each photo in the spread was supposed to illustrate the inspiration behind the clothes, and for the two looks Jacobs said were inspired by women of color (Josephine Baker and Grace Jones, respectively), Vogue Netherland’s editors thought it would be cute to paint Dutch model Querelle Jansen‘s face black. The caption in the photo above reads: “this collection is inspired by the style of the Parisian showgirl Josephine Baker, mixed with tribal influences.”
Part of me wants to be outraged, but a larger part is not surprised at such behavior, especially coming out of a nation that still thinks Zwarte Piet minstrelsy is completely innocent and fun. Even as early as last year, another Dutch fashion magazine, Jackie, published a style story in which they referred to Rihanna‘s sartorial tastes as ‘ultimate niggabitch,’ for which the now disgraced former editor-in-chief Eva Hoeke made a rousing non-apology.
Still, I can’t help but think this whole faux pas was for attention. Let’s be real: Dutch Vogue does not get as much attention as the US, French, and even UK iterations of the glossy. Perhaps the controversial spread was put there to remind the world that Vogue Netherlands still exists? It’s just a shame (yet, not a surprise) that they had to do it at the expense of beautiful, strong black women.
What do you think?