Here we go again…..
Add German designer Karl Lagerfeld and ’90s-era catwalk maven Claudia Schiffer — his muse — to the growing list of fashion notables who missed the memo on Blackface.
(This just in: Some people still find the practice horribly offensive.)
The 60th anniversary issue of European magazine Stern Fotografie hit newsstands in Germany this week, and the issue features a coveted portfolio of Karl Lagerfeld’s work — including recent photos of his beloved Claudia . There are six covers available for fashion fans to choose from: each showing Claudia styled as a different type of woman: the sexy secretary, the androgynous youth, the slutty vamp, and Marie Antoinette. But at least two portrayals are raising more than a few eyebrows on the blogosphere: Asian Claudia and Black Claudia, who is wearing an Afro and dark makeup.
While some fashion fans have branded the images racist, others feel this the always unorthodox Lagerfeld’s way of paying tribute to unconventional beauty. After all, Tyra Banks has done this several times — much to her detriment. As you may recall, last winter, the retired supermodel sparked controversy when she has had white models styled as Blacks and Native Americans for a challenge on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model.
A similar controversy broke out last year, when “It Girl of the Hour” Lara Stone graced the pages of French Vogue with black paint smeared across her creamy skin.
Perhaps a better way to honor various types of beauty would be to actually hire more beautiful models of color (ie: Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, East Indian, etc.). That way designers will no longer be forced to implore beautiful White models to imitate something that they are not.
Thoughts on this? “Asian Claudia” and “Black Claudia:” Tre’tacky or a Touching Tribute?