PHOTOS: 10 Most Controversial Stories Of The Year
If there’s one thing fashion loves to do, it’s push the envelope. And while some of the stories included on this list made the cut due to a deliberately controversial editorial vision (ahem, Terry Richardson), many more made the list by sheer (and often embarrassingly obtuse) accident. But one thing is for sure, these are the stories that kept tongues wagging, traffic spiking, and many publicists very, very busy.
1.Claudia Schiffer in Blackface by Karl Lagerfeld
This wouldn't be a most controversial stories list if it didn't have a blackface photoshoot. This year's comes courtesy of
Karl Lagerfeld, who shot supermodel Claudia Schiffer for a 2008 Dom Perignon ad campaign in dark makeup and an afro wig. He also photographed Schiffer as an Asian woman. Schiffer defended the images as reflections of "different men's fantasies" and our very own Ruthie Friedlander went on CNN's Headline News to debate the case.
2.Terry Richardson Shoots The Cast Of Glee for GQ
Similarly, this wouldn't be a most controversial stories list if
Terry Richardson didn't make an appearance. The industry's most pervy photog shot Glee stars Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, and Cory Monteith for GQ in what may in fact be this year's most talked about spread. The controversy stems from the fact that, while all of the stars are in their twenties, Glee is a show about high schoolers -- and shooting high school girls (in character or no) in their underpants is both tired and gratuitous, besides being totally porny. Agron later apologized for the images, while Michele and Monteith kept mum. GQ editor Jim Nelson defended the shoot, accusing haters of not knowing how to "divide reality from fantasy."
3.Gap's New Logo
Since we're total design nerds, we loved the fact that a
poorly designed logo could spark more outrage than nearly anything else that happened this year. Gap's atrocious redesign literally incited a virtual internet riot. While Gap president Marka Hansen made an annoying apology and the company decided to crowdsource a new design, Gap ultimately listened to customers and stuck with their original classic logo.
4.Marie Claire's Anti-Fatties Blog Post
Marie Claire may well win the coveted distinction that is this year's most controversial story. In October, blogger Maura Kelly published a post on the glossy's site titled, "Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)”. You can imagine things only went downhill from there. While Kelly later apologized in the comments and attributed her anti-fatty stance to a history of eating disorders, EiC Joanna Coles stood by the post, telling Fashionista the magazine was "excited and moved" by the responses to the piece.
5.Robbie Myers On Elle Macpherson
Back in May,
Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers stopped by the Today Show to talk about the alleged comeback of "curvy girls." While there, she made the now infamous gaffe of describing supermodel Elle Macpherson as "not a skinny girl." The blogosphere, naturally, erupted and Myers later addressed the issue in an editor's letter -- in which she specifically called out The Cut's Amy Odell. Mazel tov, Amy -- consider it a compliment.
6.Essence Hires A White Fashion Director
Essence invoked a whole lot of backlash when it decided to hire a white fashion director. We defended the magazine's choice of hire, since we believe people only got upset once they found out she wasn't black after she had already been working there for months. Essence's EIC responded with this: "Our commitment to black women remains unchanged as we continue to stay laser-focused on those principles — no matter who works with us."
7.Rodarte's Short-Lived Collection For MAC
The fashion world waited with bated breath for the release of
Rodarte's highly anticipated MAC makeup collection. The result was way more than disappointing, it was downright offensive. With names like "Juarez" and "Factory" — as well as a blood-streaked aesthetic — the line recalled unspeakable violence south of the border. In response, Rodarte issued an apology and announced that 100% of the profits would go to initiatives targeted at the women and girls of Juarez. The collection, however, was ultimately canceled.
8.LVMH vs Hermes
In November, luxury conglomerate LVMH
snuck their way past regulatory committees and Hermes family shareholders to purchase over $4 billion or over 17% of the privately held company's stock. As of this week, that stake jumped to 20% -- and the Hermes family isn't happy about it. The notoriously private family is fighting tooth and nail to keep the brand in their control -- but Bernard Arnault isn't known for giving up without a fight either.
9.Gabourey Sidibe's Elle Cover
decision to put Gabourey Sidibe on their cover was laudable and a refreshing break from the status quo, Elle's post-production image of the breakout star caused quite a stir. Looking significantly lightened, Sidibe graced the cover in a closely cropped shot topped off with what many in the African American community described as a "brillo pad" of a weave. Sidibe stayed quiet and Elle blamed the lightening on the lighting at the shoot.
10.Glamour's Size Issue
We like to consider it a sign of the times that at least two of this year's most controversial stories have to do with Photoshop.
Glamour's 2010 gaffe came in the form of an allegedly retouched cover featuring the sizeably diverse trio of Crystal Renn, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Brooklyn Decker. Editor in Chief Cindi Leive vehemently denied the accusations and we realized the issue wasn't about the model's sizes or whether or not Renn had been made to look thinner -- but about the reality of the image as a whole.