Supermodel Karlie Kloss apologized Wednesday afternoon for her controversial March 2017 Vogue US photoshoot, in which she is dressed in stereotypical Japanese geisha garb. The photo spread created a social media firestorm over accusations of cultural appropriation.
Photographer Mikael Jansson shot the editorial in Japan, reportedly as an homage to a 1966 Vogue shoot by Richard Avedon of German model Veruschka.
Fashionista has plenty to say about this editorial, which we published yesterday. Dhani Mau really let's it rip.
When Vogue released its March 2017 cover featuring a group of models — diverse both racially and physically — we were honestly thrilled. It seemed like Vogue finally "got it," "it" being that the world isn't full of white, skinny, blonde chicks and that the magazine should make some effort to represent its readers. But if Vogue took a step forward toward inclusivity with that cover, it took about a million steps backward with the total bullshit that is this Karlie Kloss editorial inside the magazine.
Shot by Mikael Jansson and styled by Phyllis Posnick in Japan's Ise-Shima National Park, "Spirited Away" features Kloss — a white lady from Missouri — dressed up as a Japanese fashion Geisha, engaged in a variety of confusing activities, like carrying a basket of cherry blossoms, looking solemn in a forest and being assisted with what is likely some trendy fitness innovation that involves water and, um, human beer koozies? The spread also includes one of fashion's favorite set-ups when it comes to shooting in other countries: using, as a prop, a decidedly unglamorous, often stereotypical human cultural symbol wearing traditional garb — in this case, a sumo wrestler — posed next to the beautiful white supermodel wearing designer clothing.
For her part, Kloss apologized on Twitter, writing: “These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry 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.”