In the past this reporter worked at British Vogue as a fashion editor for 10 years therefore had a natural interest in this week’s furious twitter storm surrounding Gucci’s turbaned catwalk models and India Vogue’s March cover of Kim Kardashian.
It is a fashion magazine’s prerogative to select all sorts of beauties and beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours; fashion is about creativity, imagination and ideas, fashion has no parameters and part of a fashion magazine’s purpose is to stimulate and challenge the reader, real fashion is liberal it is supposed to push our boundaries. Vogue is the No1 leading fashion arbiter on the planet, it would be ridiculous to imagine if its scope was not international and inclusive. The hooha is not about Kardashian’s reputation; the Twitterati gripe is that Kardashian is not an Indian model, so what, do the British get affronted if Beyoncé, Rhianna or Zoe Kravitz is on the cover? Did the Italians demand an Italian model when Fei Fein Sun, the Chinese supermodel appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue?
Surely we should relish the variety of beauties from Somalia to Russia presented by all the Vogues, it could be said it is a rather xenophobic and narrow-minded attitude to expect models to always be the same ethnicity? It is the Editor-in-Chief’s job to present the zeitgeist and what is interesting, it does not have to satisfy everyone; a magazine cover is a collaboration of creative talent the cover girl/ model is the manifestation of the efforts of the photographer, the makeup artist, the hairdresser and the stylist.
This reporter asked Priya Tanna, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue India, what the idea behind the Kardashian cover was? Here is the informed and eminently respectable reply from Priya Tanna “As a social media phenomenon (58 million Twitter followers, 108 million followers on Instagram) and as someone who presides over an empire that includes fragrances, make-up, a web series, apps, boutiques for women and children, and books, and as a star of a reality show that airs in 167 countries and is now in its 10th year, Kim Kardashian West is hard to ignore. While she lives much of her life in the public eye, it was interesting to explore the lesser known aspects of her life. Our March cover story and shoot were an ideal opportunity to know the woman behind the celebrity.”
reply to why the fuss is unnecessary is just as sensible “A big part of the criticism levelled against Vogue for featuring Kim Kardashian West on the cover has been concentrated on putting a “non-Indian face” on the cover. Over the decade since we launched, 90 per cent of our cover stars (113 out of 126) have been the country’s leading names, be it Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Mithali Raj, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt or Kangana Ranaut. We feature women that our readers want to read about—talented, intelligent women who have made a mark in their respective fields. These can be Indian, or these can be women who generate tremendous interest in India. One’s nationality is no marker of one’s merit.”
Tanna’s replies befit her position and should inspire others to be as broadminded. In my personal opinion India’s women are some of the most beautiful in the world but that does not stop me appreciating beauty wherever it comes from; I look forward to further diversity on the covers of Vogue India.