The gorgeous Crystal Renn works her ass off during this behind-the-scenes video of a Dolce & Gabbana story for Vogue Japan. But for the shoot — styled by Anna Dello Russo — Renn's eyes were taped at the temples, pulling them back into almond shapes.
Fashion photography often deals with modifying and manipulating the body. It can be quirky and charming (broken-doll poses) or outright offensive (blackface).
In a post for Refinery29, Connie Wang asks,
Is it better because it's in an Asian magazine? Does it matter if it's two white ladies making an editorial for primarily Asian women?
Wang is not the only one who is uneasy. Julie Kang writes on her blog, Geisha School Dropout:
First of all, the taping was done unevenly, so she looks odd. But most importantly, she doesn't look more Asian at all because obviously, the rest of her face isn't Asian, and for the millionth time in my life, not all of us Asian people have "chink eyes"!!! Argh! If you knew Asian people at all, you'd know that 1. Dolce & Gabbana doesn't have to resort to racist editorial spreads to garner attention...Asia LOOOOOOVES them already and 2. If anything, we actually prefer BIG eyes.
It's completely offensive that Anna Dello Russo (and makeup artist Jessica Nezda) decided to tape Renn's eyes, but it's compounded by the fact that asian models — or any models of color — are so rarely hired in the fashion industry. As our own Jenna Sauers mentioned yesterday, there's an option easier and less racist than trying to change a white model into an Asian model: Booking an Asian model.