Schiffer pics provokes fashion race row

Last Updated: Jun 04, 2010, 11:52 AM IST

London: Supermodel Claudia Schiffer and fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld are at the centre of a race row over a photograph of the blonde beauty where she is made up as a black woman.

The 39-year-old supermodel wore dark foundation and an afro wig in the shots taken by Chanel boss Lagerfeld.

His images, taken two years ago for a Dom Perignon advertising campaign, were among six shots of Schiffer used by German fashion bible Stern Fotografie to celebrate its 60th anniversary, reported Daily Mail online.

But the images have not gone down well with Shevelle Rhule, fashion editor at black lifestyle magazine Pride, openly saying that the images were tasteless.

"It shows poor taste and it`s offensive. There are not enough women of colour featured in mainstream magazines. This just suggests you can counteract the problem by using white models," she said.

"I don`t believe they deliberately set out to offend, they obviously see it as being arty and feel that they are pushing boundaries. But clearly no thought has been given to the history behind what they have done and the comparisons it draws with minstrel shows," said Rhule.

The magazine has used a collection of pictures from the Dom Perignon shoot to adorn different covers of the popular magazine including another that features Schiffer as an Asian character.

Others depict her as a secretary, while a further image shows her impersonating Marie Antoinette.

Representatives of the model claim the pictures are intended to show the model as a variety of fantasy figures. The pictures have been taken out of context. The images were designed to reflect different men`s fantasies.

The pictures were not intended to offend, they were done very creatively and they are some of Karl Lagerfeld`s favourite images of Claudia. People should not jump to conclusions," said a spokesperson of the model.

In the past black supermodel Naomi Campbell has spoken about latent racism in the fashion industry, which she said gives preference to "blond, blue-eyed models" over black women.

"You know, the American president may be black, but as a black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to work harder to be treated equally," she had said in an interview.

PTI

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