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2 posts tagged "Beverly Johnson"

Beverly Johnson, the Original African-American Supermodel, Talks Diversity in Fashion Today

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Beverly Johnson PosedBefore Iman or Naomi, there was Beverly Johnson. This August marks the 40th anniversary of Johnson’s landmark Vogue debut as the first-ever African-American to grace the mag’s cover. A year later, she landed the cover of French Elle, and later went on to score shoots with some of fashion’s most iconic photographers (like Irving Penn), Revlon campaigns, movie gigs, and more.
bj-vogueWWD recently checked in with the supermodel to discuss the state of the industry today, and she didn’t hesitate to point out the lack of women of color on the runways during fashion week, as well as the decrease in African-American hairstylists and makeup artists in the field right now. “Sometimes we live in this very elitist bubble called the fashion industry,” she said. “We have become really oblivious to what’s going on in the world.”

She said she will be turning a sharp eye to the runways in September, along with other top models who have been leading the charge for change, like Bethann Hardison, Iman, and Naomi Campbell. They have been joined by designers like Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, who has been making his own push for diversity in the industry. Most recently, the designer revealed his Fall ad campaign, which features models of varied color and backgrounds. “I think fashion is all about a vision that you can give to people; it’s [about] expressing that passion. We need to show how diversity is important,” he told Style.com in an exclusive interview.

Photos: Gems / Getty Images; Condé Nast Archive

Newton On Display in L.A.

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Villa d’ Este, Lake Como, Italy from the series White Women April 1975

“I’m not looking for a nice girl,” Helmut Newton once said. In lieu of the angular subjects that were the fashion convention in the forties when Newton began his career, the photographer sought out busty, broad-shouldered women—often blondes—whom he’d photograph in black and white, at high noon, and preferably in the nude. He rendered his muses as strong, dominant protagonists in his erotic, visual narratives, which flirted with sadomasochism. More than 100 of his subversive images are now on display at Los Angeles’ Annenberg Space for Photography. Opening to the public on Saturday, Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes comprises works from his first three books. One photograph from the seventies, “Chained Nude,” shows a model wearing only a pair of cherry-red stilettos and chains around her ankles, while another, particularly iconic shot, depicts two women—one nude, one in a black tuxedo—sharing a passionate kiss.

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