Is the sky blue? American Vogue won’t be featuring an all black model issue in my lifetime, lol, but they do have an article about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry.
This magazine exists to inspire women. How do fashion editors get inspired by watching the same procession of anonymous, blandly pretty, very young, very skinny, washed-out blondes with their hair scraped back in show after show? The glamazon supermodels of the late eighties and early nineties (Linda, Christy, Cindy, Naomi, Claudia) all looked equal but different as they thundered down the runway. Like the Spice Girls, each had an individual personality, a different physicality. So did the late-nineties wave of sexy Brazilian girls (who come in all colors, from milk to brown). The current wave of Eastern Europeans all look pretty much alike, which is odd for a trade that thrives on appealing to a woman’s personal style. And all are, obviously, white. Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm model agency in London, remarks, “It’s a naughty thing to say, because I’ve got some beautiful Eastern European girls, but to be honest, when I go in cars with them in Paris, I do get snow-blinded.”
Iman is a longtime friend of Bethann Hardison, the former runway model turned model agent. Both women are dismayed about the current predilection for an alienating aesthetic on the runway. Hardison says crisply, “The model has become a hanger.” Iman (who was muse to Yves Saint Laurent and stood for days at a time while he created and fitted his African Queen couture collection on her body) grew tired of looking through “lifeless” shows online. But what really got their dander up was the noticeable whiteout on the runways of 2007. “Bethann E-mailed me,” says Iman, “one single sentence: ‘Did you realize that over the last decade, black models have been reduced to a category? Call me.’ “