Monday, August 5, 2013

Coming Out of the Dark

For those of us who are old enough to recall, the supermodel era of the late eighties and early nineties was a celebration of womanhood where individuality, diversity and a more relatable athletic body aesthetic was in Vogue. Models like Paulina Porizkova, Cindy Crawford, Renee Simonsen, Estelle LeFebure, and Naomi Campbell looked equally at home on the covers and within the pages of Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, and Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue. It was also during this period that a stunning array of black modelling talent ruled the runways and shared editorial space with their white counterparts. Top models Veronica Webb, Karen Alexander, Kara Young, Beverly Peele, Tyra Banks, Gail O'Neill, Stephanie Roberts, Louise Vyent, Brandi Quinones and Naomi Campbell formed a band of black beauties who vied for the affections of fashion editors, designers, stylists, and photographers.

Over the past two decades, the lack of diversity in modelling has been a glaring source of contention with a collective sigh being heard in response to the seemingly white-washed runways which predominate each show season. The latest Fall/Winter 2013 campaign offerings suggest however that modelling trends could well be shifting towards a more inclusive standard of beauty with models of colour being featured in the line-ups for Chanel, Prada, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Etro, Balmain, Tommy Hilfiger, DSquared 2, Roberto Cavalli, and cK Calvin Klein. With the rise of the Asian supermodel and the widening global economic crisis, designers and fashion houses may well be seeking to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible by featuring multi-ethnic casts. With a burgeoning pool of talent including Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, Sui He, Cora Emmanuel, Soo Joo Park, Grace Mahary, and Chiharu Okunugi opening the floodgates of colour onto fashion runways, one hopes that this is more a case of a shift in the attitudes and mindsets of casting directors and designers towards an appreciation of a more inclusive beauty aesthetic and its wider social ramifications.

Cora Emmanuel
Balmain - F/W 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Malaika Firth
Prada - F/W 2013
Photographer - Steven Meisel
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Iselin Steiro & Liya Kebede
Roberto Cavalli - F/W 2013
Photographer - Mario Testino

Chiharu Okunugi
Stella McCartney - F/W 2013
Photographer - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
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Chiharu Okunugi & Soo Joo Park
Chanel - F/W 2013
Photographer - Karl Lagerfeld
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Marina Nery & Hind Sahli
Miu Miu - F/W 2013
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Sasha Luss & Cora Emmanuel
Tommy Hilfiger - F/W 2013
Photographer - Craig McDean
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Anais Mali
David Yurman - F/W 2013
Photographer - Peter Lindbergh
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Caroline Brasch Nielsen, Liu Wen & Ji Hye Park
cK Calvin Klein - F/W 2013
Photographer - Steven Klein
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Aymeline Valade, Sung Hee Kim & Elisabeth Erm
Etro - F/W 2013
Photographer - Mario Testino
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Grace Gao, Xiao Wen Ju, Tian Yi, Ming Xi & Jia Jing
DSquared 2 - F/W 2013
Photographed - Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
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