Archive for the ‘black models’ Category

Enninful ends the male ‘white-out’ at Vogue

April 11, 2017

Edward Enninful has been fashion and creative director at W magazine since 2011

Edward Enninful has been fashion and creative director at W magazine since 2011

Much of the coverage about the arrival of Edward Enninful as editor of Vogue talks about ‘surprise’ in the fashion industry. He may be the first male editor-in-chief of the British edition of the title, but Condé Nast, who founded the US original in 1892 based on a French magazine, was hardly a woman. Somehow, the company always seem to generate surprise at these announcements – just look back at Alexander Shulman’s appointment. But Condé Nast tends to promote from within and, as the creative director of W, Enninful has been under the nose of Jonathan Newhouse, the big chief, in New York for six years.

Of course, he is a rare black editor at a big Western magazine. How many others are there? I remember commenting on the loss of Helen Bazuaye as a black editor back in 2004 when 19 closed. And former Cosmopolitan editor Linda Kelsey has blamed the conservative nature of the industry for the lack of black models on magazine covers.

Shulman has had a hard time at Vogue from Naomi Campbell, who was first black model to appear on the covers of Vogue in the UK. Campbell attacked Vogue in 2008 for not putting her on the cover often enough. Shulman dismissed the comments as ‘a PR thing’, saying ‘Campbell was just trying to get publicity for the event she was doing’. Campbell has also claimed that an Australian magazine editor lost the job after putting Campbell on the cover.

Enninful, who is a 45-year-old Ghanaian-British stylist, will take over as Vogue’s 11th editor on August 1, following Shulman after her quarter-century stint. She will be a hard act to follow, with circulation doubling under her tenure to 220,000 copies a month. She was also lauded in the press for last year’s centenary celebrations campaign for the title, with a National Portrait Gallery exhibition, a BBC TV documentary and a Duchess of Cambridge cover.

He joins Emanuele Farneti, editor of Italian Vogue, as a man running an edition of the US-owned fashion monthly. Farneti, like Shulman, was editor of men’s monthly GQ, before moving across to the bigger woman’s monthly.

Enninful was touted as the world’s youngest fashion director when, aged 18, he took the post at Terry Jones’s i-D. and has spent the past six years as creative director at W in New York. His campaigning side has come out with his talk of ending the ‘white-out’ he sees on catwalks and in magazines and he styled Italian Vogue’s Black Issue back in 2008.

Enninful has more digital savvy than Shulman, judging by the success of ‘I Am an Immigrant’ video he released on W’s website after Donald Trump’s travel ban. With print sales under the cosh, ad revenues and digital presence will provide the benchmarks on which he will be judged.

What can we do with the nipples this month?

August 15, 2015
Cute cover-up: Naomi Campbell on the cover of GQ in April 2000

Cute cover-up: Naomi Campbell on the cover of GQ in April 2000

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, GQ was down there fighting for sales against the likes of FHM and Loaded by putting naked women on its covers as often as possible. Well, nearly naked. The delicate rules of the newsagent dictate that nipples cannot be shown.

This cute magazine cover-up for Naomi Campbell on the cover of GQ – sister title to Vogue at Conde Nast – in April 2000 has to go down as one of the best examples.

You can imagine the cover meetings at the time: ‘Well, how can we show as much naked flesh this month without revealing a nipple?’ They were taped up, covered in subtly-draped clothes or hidden under type. Sometimes, they were just blatantly airbrushed out, as in the example of Abi Titmouse below from FHM (then published by Emap) .

FHM June 2004. But what's happened to the nipples on Abi Titmuss?

FHM June 2004. But what’s happened to the nipples on Abi Titmuss?



Naomi Campbell in black sacking claim

October 24, 2010

Naomi Campbell on cover of GQNaomi Campbell has claimed that the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine told her he was sacked after putting her on its front cover. The Telegraph says the 40-year-old supermodel made the claim about an Australian magazine. Naomi Campbell was the first black model to appear on the covers of Vogue in the UK and France.

Naomi Campbell in war crimes probe

May 20, 2010

Who would have thought it? That Naomi Campbell, stalwart of Vogue and fashion magazines around the world, could be summoned before a war crimes tribunal over allegations she received a ‘blood diamond’ from Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor, says the Telegraph.Naomi Campbell on cover of Vogue December 1987

New take on lack of black models

May 26, 2009

The opening up of the Eastern bloc in the 1990s spelled disaster for black models and their images on magazine covers, according to a report about a Women’s Library meeting. ‘The tall, willowy, “bland” blue-eyed look of models such as Natalia Vodianova became the aesthetic of choice for couture designers,’ says Nell Frizzell at

Women’s glossies A-Z

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Kelsey ‘disgusted’ by women’s weekly magazines

February 25, 2009

‘Shocked, bewildered and disgusted, – that’s  former Cosmo editor Linda Kelsey’s reaction to today’s women’s weekly magazines.

Writing in Saturday’s Daily Mail, Kelsey pinpoints headlines such as:

  • ‘Incest Mum Shock: Sex with my son sets me on fire.’
  • ‘Why I want my daughter to be a hooker like me!’
  • ‘What was sticking out of his bum?’

She scanned the covers of 17 weeklies, totting up 20 coverlines relating to killing, dying or stabbing. Some of the graphic details were ‘too shocking for a family newspaper’ [like the Daily Mail – interestingly, the Sun doesn’t carry a Page 3 model on Saturdays because the kids are around at the weekend].

Much of the blame/credit for the change in the women’s weeklies can be laid at the door of Paul Merrill with the sense of the bizarre he gave Chat, with its photograph of a woman’s enormous tumour and condom-in-the-soup stories. Back in 2004, such skills landed him the job of editor of lad’s weekly Zoo.

In 2007, Kelsey spoke out about the lack of black cover models.

Women’s weeklies

Slimming down – thanks to digital retouching

May 16, 2008

Kelly Osbourne fronts Independent article on digital retouching

A slim-looking Kelly Osbourne fronts today’s Independent Extra feature on digital retouching. This is how she looked on the cover of Fabulous in February:

Kelly Osbourne on Fabulous cover

Other examples include:

  • Kate Winslet being ‘stretched’ to make her look so tall and thin on a February 2003 GQ cover that she appeared to have size 12 feet (see below). Winslet described the digital manipulation as ‘excessive’. In 2006, the Closer Diets website identified Winslet as having the perfect celebrity body.
  • Kate Moss was turned black for the Red Independent issue in September 2006 to highlight the issue of black models on covers.
  • Princess Eugenie being touched up and ‘busomed-up’ – ‘Tatlered’ according to the Daily Mirror – this year (see below).

The article discusses the work of Pascal Dangin and the Dove advertising campaigns, which featured photographs by Rankin. The Hayward gallery held an exhibition in April that featured manipulation of images as far back as the 1920s by photographer Alexander Rodchenko.

Kate Winslet on GQ cover

How Kate Winslet appeared on GQ – one of a series of images at the Indpendent website

Below – how the Mirror reported the treatment of Eugenie’s image

Eugenie slimmed furore

The Devil wears her heart on her sleeve

February 12, 2008

The Devil Wears Prada portrayed women fashion magazine editors as very strange people. So seeing one come across as human can be a tad surprising. Alexandra Shulman – the UK peer of US Vogue‘s Anna Wintour, on whom The Devil was supposed to be based – reveals a quandry at the heart of her life in an Independent interview:

‘I think we have a very unhealthy relationship with how people really look and I have to marry my personal feelings about it, which is that people should relax a bit and concentrate a bit more on other aspects of themselves, with the fact that I edit Vogue, which is a magazine which is all about creating that idealised image for people.’

And perhaps she does stay up at night worrying about skinny models and black models.

Last year, Naomi Campbell hit out at British Vogue for not putting her on the cover. In fact, Campbell has appeared on the front of Vogue at least six times. Shulman dismisses the comments as ‘a PR thing’ – ‘she was just trying to get publicity for the event she was doing’.

But she adds: ‘What I think is an absolutely valid criticism is there aren’t enough black people in all areas of successful life.’

‘I have to be realistic about these things. If you look at the black population in this country and you look at the amount of black women featured in the magazine throughout, we’re absolutely on a par with the whole population, but what we’re not doing is overcompensating.

‘I happen to think she [Naomi] really likes being one of the few really successful black models, because it gives her a huge advantage and she’s had an incredibly long career.’

Still in Vogue after all these years‘ by Ciar Byrne in the Independent.

Covered in glory: Marie Claire

January 14, 2008

Claire Atkinson in the Independent profiles Joanna Coles and sees the Yorkshire-bred ‘gritty’ editor of US Marie Claire as a potential new Tina Brown. The piece discusses the ups and downs of black art of choosing cover models:

Coles has also shaken up conventional wisdom about who should grace the covers of American Marie Claire in age when newsstands are heaving with celebrity cleavage and fly-away tresses. Some choices have had praise, others criticism. Media-industry blogs criticised choices like Maggie Gyllenhaal and Sarah Michelle Gellar as uninspiring, while another cover girl, Ashley Simpson, caused a stir when she told women to love themselves as they are, and then promptly turned around and got a nose job. Coles wrote a stern editor’s letter on that turn-about. Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh, one of the first actresses of Asian descent to make the cover, raised both eyebrows and interest. The issue helped lift newsstand sales by 22 per cent. Ultimately though, staples such as Angelina Jolie (with whom Coles spent an afternoon) and Ashley Olsen have been the best sellers.

Kelsey on black cover models

October 18, 2007

Former Cosmopolitan editor Linda Kelsey has blamed the conservative nature of the industry for the lack of black models on magazine covers – and the fact that there are so few black celebrities. Speaking on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, She recited an anecdote from when she was Cosmo editor that distributors had warned her off using a black model because such covers did not sell. The magazine used the black model and she said it had no discernible effect on sales.

Nowadays, such titles no longer used models, but celebrities instead, she said. Also, Kate Moss would be used rather than Naomi Campbell because she was guaranted to sell copies.

The interview comes after a Guardian report earlier this month asking ‘Why are all the models white?’

See about 250 covers at