People aren't happy about Karlie Kloss's 'Geisha'-themed shoot in Vogue

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<em>(Photography: Mikael Jansson for Vogue US March 2017. Karlie Kloss appears in ‘Spirited Away’ editorial)</em>
(Photography: Mikael Jansson for Vogue US March 2017. Karlie Kloss appears in ‘Spirited Away’ editorial)

Really, Vogue?!

Karlie Kloss apologized after being styled as a geisha in a Japanese-themed photoshoot in the March 2017 ‘diversity’ issue of Vogue. The photos received criticism for featuring an American-born Caucasian supermodel as a traditional Japanese entertainer, with many across social media labeling it ‘cultural appropriation.’

Kloss apologized on Twitter after the outcries: “These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive. My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission.”

The spread was shot at Ise-Shima National Park, Japan, by Swedish fashion photographer Mikael Jansson and styled by Phyllis Posnick. While posing in a variety of settings, Kloss is draped in Kimono-style robes while wearing a Shimada-style chignon wig. In many, her skin is deeply powdered in the dramatic traditional style. In one photo, the 24-year-old poses with a sumo wrestler and in another she stands regally on the steps of a traditional Japanese tea house.

Reaction to the controversial shoot hasn’t been entirely supportive, with some comparing Kloss to other celebs who’ve been called out for attempting to normalize cultural appropriation, such as Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson.

One Twitter user wrote: “Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. “Your turn, girl.” Karlie on phone: “Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian.”

Another stated: “Karlie Kloss was styled as a geisha in the March issue of Vogue––the theme of which is “diversity.” This is not what diversity looks like.”

“Someone at vogue really thought “this issues gonna be about diversity,” a user tweeted. “so we’re gonna take karlie kloss and dress her up as a geisha”

This isn’t the first time Vogue has been called out over controversial spreads. In 2011, Italian Vogue apologized for a trend story on jewelry that bared the headline “Slave Earrings,” with text accompanying the image of a blonde model donning the circular hoops: “If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom.”

In 2009, Vogue Paris featured images of Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in blackface and in 2013, Vogue Netherlands followed suit with a ‘blackface’ “Heritage Heroes” editorial.

What do you think about the controversial photo shoot and Kloss’s apology? Let us know by tweeting @YahooStyleCA.


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