Now, we often have little arguments between ourselves about whether something is racist or not (like when we asked you all about whether THIS was racist). Mostly, it's over the fact that I go too far and don't even realise it to which I, of course, will argue back goodnaturedly that I in fact don't go far enough...
In my opinion, Crystal Renn is generally just divine. And she is no less so in this Vogue Nippon editorial for October 2011's issue. Photographed by Giampaolo Sgura and styled by the ridonkulous Anna Dello Russo, the editorial only uses Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's designs and sees Crystal play with the masculine-feminine aspects of their latest (awesome) collection.
Another thing this shoot literally sees is Crystal Renn viewing through more almond, Asian-afied eyes via the strategic use of tape at her temples to pull her eyes into a different shape. And yes, I do think it was a somewhat inspired move.
I for one, as a person of Asian descent, was not offended by this. Should I be? I mean, is it not a refreshing statement to make a Caucasian girl look more Asian as opposed to, for example, the usual whitening up of every other skin tone that is any shade human other than white? For me, in my fashion-twisted and perhaps industry brain washed perspective, temporarily modifying Crystal Renn's eyes to look more Asian sends a message that an Oriental shaped eye is beautiful and desirable.
Granted, the deeper concept of it being demonstrated on a biologically Caucasian eye (lids and all) is perhaps a mixed message - but WTF isn't a completely convoluted message in fashion/advertising/everything these days?
In all honesty, I'm quite sure that I wouldn't even have noticed this 'styling detail', had not parts of the make up process been shown on the behind the scenes video. Is taping her temples back really all that different to lining her eyes in liquid to create a cat eye? Or changing her hair colour? Or using a belt to cinch in her waist? Or wearing high heels to make her legs look (even) longer?
This isn't a case of 'is this racist or not'. It's a much more complex issue to do with not only race (which I feel is the less pertinent element at stake here), but the fashion industry's M.O., societal and cultural ideals and standards of beauty, as well as the plain old intention of publicity provoking controversy. And I always think it's an excellent thing if we're having conversations about things like this at all!
Anyway, Crystal Renn looks amazing and the clothes look amazing. ANTM wanna bes take note: now THIS is how you work an angle!!
In another perspective, Refinery 29's Connie Wang doesn't feel too comfortable with it... How do you feel about it?
Let us know what you think...I'm really interested to hear!! In the meantime, check the gallery below that includes images of Crystal Renn's beauty feature in the same issue: