'Vogue Italia' shows Dutch model posing in blackface, ethnic wear

The controversy surrounding blackface has been reignited after another high-fashion magazine has engaged in an act that has been deemed racially insensitive as part of a newly-released fashion spread.

Vogue Italia’s March 2014 issue shows Dutch model Saskia de Brauw in images where she is seen plastered in colorful paint and wearing ethnic gear such as accentuated head pieces and tribal clothing while posing with animals.

According to the Huffington Post, the fashion spread was shot by photographer Steven Meise and is entitled “Abracadabra.” Other photos in the editorial show de Brauw making gnarling faces and wrestling with faux animals like tigers, goats and sheep.

The editorial is now one of several fashion publications who have enlisted white models to dress, pose and portray racially-insensitive imagery.

“It’s 2014. We should not still be seeing this kind of editorial in our fashion magazines,” writes Elizabeth Licata at The Gloss.

This isn’t the first time the fashion magazine has enlisted the use of “blackface.” Vogue Netherlands was under fire for a May 2013 spread which showed a white model posing in blackface in spread titled “Heritage Heroes.”

The model, Querelle Jansen, was photographed plastered in black paint and wearing textured afro-wigs. According to Jezebel, the use of such images were to honor designer Marc Jacobs, whose looks were inspired by iconic black women like Grace Jones and Josephine Baker.

However, the images were deemed inappropriate nonetheless – and highlighted the issue of race in the fashion industry and the already limited use of black models along with dwindling diversity rates on runways.

“It’s particularly troubling that blackface persists in a fashion industry that continues to display an overwhelming preference for white models,” Jezebel.com writer Jenna Sauers stated.

“Models of color — even successful ones — often face discrimination on the basis of their race. Black models are told by clients that they won’t be hired because they ‘already have’ a black model, black models talk about encountering makeup artists and hair stylists who refuse to work with them, and black models say they have a harder time breaking into an industry that accords them fewer opportunities than white models.”

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