I recently bought my monthly issue of Marie Claire South Africa. I sat down to read it and enjoyed the Kate Moss cover, the cover story, the fashion stories and all the other usual stuff that MC gets right more than 95% of the time. It's one of the few local magazines I make a point to purchase each month because I feel the publication speaks the language of the modern gentlewoman.
However, I stopped. Semi- aghast in all senses of the word. Wondering what it is I was looking at when I saw the above beauty shoot which also showcases Prada's 2012 Resort Collection. After reading and contemplating, I showed my friends the shoot and asked them what they thought. One is an award winning artist. One a lecturer in Art. One a stylist and the other a photographer. I couldn't read their thoughts beyond their expressions of narrowed eyebrows, compressed eyelids and pursed lips.
There are some great elements in the shoot. Like the concept, some of the clothing and the lips in the first and fourth picture. The rest, I really don't think was executed well at all. The first and continuous thought while looking at the shoot was that it seemed like some non-black person wanted to see what all these amazing pops of colour look on a black person and just applied them for fun, as a test, as if playing dress up at home. Yes we know that bright colours look better on black skin, but in moderation. This otherwise beautiful model in these images looks like the cross between a golliwogg and a minstrel. Like no consideration was applied to whether black women could actually wear these looks and be taken seriously. Was it a display of the actual colours against a skin that would expose them the best? Because if it was, then they have done the colours justice. They are beautiful colours. But together, I believe they are offensive to the intelligence of anyone who would want to apply them together in this way.
Am I being too harsh? What are your thoughts?