Vogue Italia‘s Franca Sozzani Defends Controversial ‘Haute Mess’ Spread

Vogue Italia’s Franca Sozzani is no stranger to controversy — remember Karlie Klosss hotly debated editorial and the whole “slave earring” debacle? This month, she’s at it again with a drag queen-inspired (and possibly racist) editorial entitled “Haute Mess”.

In the photos, Coco Rocha and Abbey Lee Kershaw are nearly unrecognizable with outrageous candy-themed hairstyles and makeup, but what caught everyone’s attention was that the fact that the images were similar to an editorial titled “Gallery of Ghetto-Fabulous, Edible Hair Dos” from food and fitness blog, Yum Yucky. The Cut chatted with Sozanni last week, and asked her about the spread. Here is what she had to say:

“Most of fashion all looks alike. It is really beautiful, but it is very similar in a way. You go to London, and everything has flowers. You go somewhere else, and everything is minimal. We wanted to make something quite extravagant. It’s more to push people to be creative and extravagant. … Because I read everything in the blogs, but honestly, we just thought it was the concept of extravagance, of creativity, even something over-the-top, something that is not usual. If you want, you don’t dress like that, you don’t put on this kind of makeup, but it’s just to make a fake, to go over-the-top, it makes you happy in a way, more alive, more colorful — sometimes fashion looks sad.”

And she doesn’t think that it was racist:

“A racist image, I really do not understand. I went through the pages so many times. Like when we did the Black Issue, everybody said that we did that on purpose because Obama was the person chosen to go to the White House, and if you just think one second, not more than one second, you can see that to make a magazine like what we did for the Black Issue, it takes six months [to do]. … People wanted to see an economical and a financial [decision], just to get more money, because we talk about Black Issue, it’s probably because the president is black. What do you answer? They don’t know what it means to work at a magazine. That’s it.”

Also, she’s never heard of the Yum Yucky blog.

“I don’t get the question, sorry. What’s the question?…I don’t know, I don’t know what to answer. No.”

So, Sozanni doesn’t think that “Haute Mess” is as bad as everyone else does, or if she does, she’s doing a good job at denying it. What do you think? Take a closer look at the photos below, and tell us your thoughts in the comments.

[The Cut]


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