Supermodel Karlie Kloss has apologized for appearing in Vogue's “diversity issue” in an editorial styled as a geisha, after coming under fire from for being culturally insensitive. Kloss was photographed by Mikael Jansson in a black wig and wearing a kimono in one shot and poses beside a sumo wrestler in another. In the editorial’s introduction, Vogue noted that the spread is "paying homage to geisha culture."
The magazine's March issue has already generated some social media backlash, according to the Associated Press. “Intended to celebrate women's diversity, the cover features seven models of different ethnic backgrounds, but some say it is not as inclusive as it could be.”
Kloss took to her Twitter account on Wednesday to apologize for "participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive. My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission."
This is not the first time Kloss has had to apologize for cultural appropriation. In 2012, she was "deeply sorry" after wearing a Native American feather headdress, suede vest, skirt, and turquoise jewelry at a Victoria Secret fashion show. The outfit was later removed from subsequent broadcasts.
This is not Vogue's first cultural offense either. You may recall that its March 2014 issue included an editorial entitled, “Abracadabra,“ which was shot by Steven Meisel and depicts model Saskia de Brauw in a series of images with notably darkened skin and posing in various headdresses, colorful wrappings, and other culturally-inspired wares.
And because fashion has something of a skewed perception of what is and is not acceptable (largely because it prides itself as aspiration in nature and an industry divorced from reality), the industry has been scolded for an array blackface controversies. There was the highly controversial spread in Numero magazine, entitled "African Queen," starring model Ondria Hardin, who was painted black and styled in turbans. There was Vogue Netherlands' May 2013 editorial, “Heritage Heroes”, which honored designer Marc Jacobs’s work with Louis Vuitton as styled on models in blackface makeup.
Still yet, around the same time, Abel Van Oeveren, was shot by Johnny Dufort and styled by John Colver, for the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Metal magazine. The Barcelona-based magazine's editorial, entitled "Transmission," featured models Charlie Adshead, Abel Van Oeveren, Tim Dufort and Ben Dufort and one particularly interesting image: Van Oeveren with a black-painted face.