Valentino Continues to Give The Finger to Diversity

Yesterday Vogue posted an article about Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection. It was a review in which Nicole Phelps, the author of the article, wrote mostly about how it was one of the biggest of the season and so on. What she didn’t write about is that this African themed collection only has one black model showing its clothes.

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If you go through the gallery that Vogue has posted along with this article, you can see that most of the photos are of white models while some are of black models. The only thing is that those photos of black models are of only one model in different clothing. Granted there are only 4 models total in all of these outfits but the fact that they didn’t even things out or just include a non white model of a different ethnicity shows that Valentino hasn’t learned anything from the criticism it received last year.

First, there was the ad campaign for Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2015 collection that featured white models in cornrows. Then, there was the Valentino Spring/Summer 2016 Collection. The hair was a big part of why people were angry with Valentino for the collection but what most people wrote about was the lack of black models on the runway during the show.

According to an article on Fashionista, the collection “featured 91 looks, but only 10 of them were worn by black models (and fewer then 10 were cast, as some of them walked twice).” That is just ridiculous and is one of the reasons why magazines like Vogue are currently behind culture. It’s why Vogue only had 2 covers with black models out of 12.

Guido Palao, the lead hairstylist for Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2016 campaign, has since responded saying,

The clothes have some tribal inspiration, so the hair has that feeling as well… It’s a bit influenced by the ’60s and ’70s when girls used to travel and they would bring back inspiration from other places and cultures, which is kind of an eclectic way of styling yourself.

Okay, so being inspired by culture is great but as Eliza Brooks says in this article on Fashionista, it’s not good when a fashion brand is making money from a hair style that was created by black women and putting them on white women when black women can’t even wear that hairstyle without being publicly criticized. Brooks also points out that what makes it worse it that “designers — and not just Valentino — still fail at racially diverse casting in their ad campaigns and runway shows, regardless of theme or location.”

The fact that Valentino is still using mostly white models for african themed collections after all of this criticism shows that the brand either hasn’t learned from it or just doesn’t care and has decided to give the finger to diversity. I’d say they just don’t care because I think it would be a little not know what people are saying about your collection, especially if it’s all over fashion news sites. What’s more, Vogue keeps giving these collections positive reviews which isn’t helping the forward movement of fashion either.

So, what do you think? Should Valentino cast more black models? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get new posts sent directly to your inbox and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.


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