Gigi Hadid's Vogue Hong Kong Covers Sparks Internet Backlash Over 2017 Buddha Cookie 'Racism'

Vogue Hong Kong Debut Issue.jpg

Vogue Hong Kong has launched as the 25th edition of the publication, with Gigi Hadid and Sun Feifei (aka Fei Fei Sun) covering the first issue, on sale today March 3, 2019 in Hong Kong..

Photographed by Nick Knight, the models each take a solo spot before appearing together on the third and final version. Both models wear Chanel Haute Couture, from Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection. The designer is prominently featured on the landing page of Vogue Hong Kong’s new website, as well as in the print publication.

The Vogue Hong Kong team will be led by Peter Wong, who assumes the role of Editorial Director. Joining Wong will be Senior Fashion Content Editor, Daniel Cheung, and Fashion Director, Anya Ziourov.

Speaking to WWD about about the decision to feature a western and an Asian model on the cover, Vogue Hong Kong publisher Desiree Au remarked that Hong Kong has "always been a mix of east and west".

This may be reality, but the Internet burst into furor over Gigi Hadid’s cover appearance. It turns out that people have a long memory over Hadid’s 5-second video of now-infamous eye moves. No one was upset that the restaurant served her a cookie depicting the face of Buddha. It was Hadid’s brief mimicking of the cookie with her eyes, that got her in a heap of trouobe.

"Gigi has a very city vibe and strong sense of energy and is dynamic, which I felt is very Hong Kong,” Au said, in explaining her cover story choice before all hell broke lose. Vogue Hong Kong has now taken down Gigi Hadid’s solo debut cover from Instagram. Chinese social media ran Hadid out of town in advance of the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Hong Kong — forcing her to cancel her appearance.

Gigi-Hadid-Fei-Fei-Sun-Vogue-Hong-Kong-March-20192.jpg

“(Sun Fei Fei) is obviously Chinese but has made it big in the west as well. We wanted somebody from Asia but also with a very international outlook.” So far, Fei Fei is not under attack for appearing with Gigi Hadid, but in today’s digital world, no one is safe.

Vogue Hong Kong’s debut issue runs more than 350 pages. Au confessed that the news of Lagerfeld's passing from pancreatic cancer necessitated changes days before publication.

“Can you imagine? Pushing printing to basically a week before but this is the beauty of Hong Kong,” she said. “Distribution is fast, printing is fast. We’re really able to get things that are last minute into the magazine.…This is very Hong Kong.”