MILAN (AP) — Gigi Hadid and Vogue Italia have both apologized for the May Vogue Italia cover that showed the model with a dark skin tone, a distortion that unleashed a social media backlash and underlined the lack of diversity in the fashion industry.
In a post on Instagram on Thursday, Hadid said diversity in the industry needs to be addressed and that she does not want “to take opportunities away from anyone else.”
The cover shot by Steven Klein showed the normally blonde Hadid with dark hair and heavily bronzed skin, wearing a Dolce & Gabbana sequined legging ensemble with matching tiara. Inside, Hadid poses in beachwear in the spread titled “High Voltage.”
Hadid said the photo shoot that also included digital editing of the photo, “was not executed correctly” and agreed that the concerns raised were “valid.”
Social media posts decried the dark skin tone, many likening it to the blackface minstrels of the 19th century that promoted racial stereotypes. Others pointed out that Vogue Italia under its previous editor, the late Franca Sozzani, was a prominent advocate for racial diversity in fashion, notably with its famed “All Black” cover in 2008.
“I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouch/coloring of the cover. Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different,” the model said.
“Regardless, I want to apologize because I never want to diminish these concerns.”
Vogue Italia said Klein’s “vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylized bronzing effect,” and that “throughout its history, Vogue Italia has respected and encouraged the creative viewpoints of commissioned photographers.”
But the fashion magazine added that it understood the issues it ignited among its readers.
“We sincerely apologize if we have caused any offense.”