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July 18, 2012  | by: Anissa Pierre

Kerry Washington For Vogue Italia July 2012

As everyone probably knows by now, ABC’s “Scandal” star, Kerry Washington graced the pages of Vogue Italia’s July issue in a luxurious spread. The spread features Washington done up in fabulous 60’s motivated looks, designed by Roberto Cavalli. Her larger than life hair, head to toe color synchronization, and gorgeous accessories seem to pay homage to a young Diana Ross. This is not Vogue Italia’s first time using a black woman (or black women as a whole) as inspiration for their shoots or articles; however, this is one of the few where they did so without ruffling any feathers.

Over the past few years Vogue Italia has come under some serious fire for running ads or features that were deemed as racist and insensitive toward black woman. Do you remember their “Haute Mess” fashion editorial back in March?

The editorial featured models with different colored hair extensions; heavy makeup; and  long multicolored, heavily designed fake nails, posing in positions where their backsides were the main attraction. All of these things are reminiscent of the stereotypical “ghetto black girl”. One shot included a track (hair extension) draped on a hanger to dry out. The spread was in fact a hot ass mess, for lack of better words.

Vogue Italia's "Haute Mess"

There was also the “slave earring” incident last year, were they ran an article on their website discussing the presence of hoop earrings in runway shows. The article read:

Jewellery has always flirted with circular shapes, especially for use in making earrings. The most classic models are the slave and creole styles in gold hoops.

If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on.

Vogue Italia Slave Earrings Original Run

After a spark of rage, Vogue Italia immediately took down and re-ran the article, changing “slave earrings” to “ethnic earrings”. Both incidents (“Haute Mess” and the slave earrings) could be deemed as less than racist and more of bad taste; that, however, did not ease people’s anger. To make up for blunders like these, Vogue Italia  came up with V Black, where they highlight black beauty and fashion, as a regular feature on their website.

Its great to see that Vogue Italia has learned a better way to showcase black women and fashion inspired by them. The elegance of this month’s photo’s of Kerry Washington are to be applauded. Beauty is not only drawn from her, but also from the setting the pictures are taken in. The shoots took place in a sophisticated house with gorgeous chandeliers, lush rugs, and classy  furniture. Accompanied by such a grandeur setting, and the splendid designs of  Roberto Cavalli,  Washington surpasses stunning.

Congratulations are due to Washington and to Vogue Italia for such a great job. To see more pics of the shoot click here!

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