When Gigi Hadid fans got a look at her latest magazine cover—a spread for Vogue Italia shot by Steven Klein—some were less than amused. Immediately, they picked up on the fact that her skin tone was notably darker than normal, and accusations of blackface quickly followed.
"[If] they wanted a darker woman or of a different ethnicity, then they should do that not photoshop and bronze the f— out of her," one person wrote on Vogue Italia's Instagram.
"This is Horrible... black face gone wrong... why not get black model instead of doing this to poor @gigihadid," said another.
But after seeing the cover herself, Hadid also had something to say about it.
While she didn't post the cover to her Instagram, the model did post a behind-the-scenes video from the magazine shoot; she responded to the backlash with a lengthy apology on her Instagram Story.
“This is a photo of me returning home from shooting my Italian Vogue cover on April 3rd…you can see the level I had been bronzed to on set that day. Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent in terms of creative direction. 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post if out of my control fully,” she wrote.
“The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S. Klein has done for many years and I believe was what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively), BUT, although I understand what Vogue Italia’s intentions were, it was not executed correctly, and the concerns that have been brought up are valid.”
“I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouching/coloring of the cover. Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different. Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from anyone else, and I hope this can be an example to other magazines and teams in the future," she wrote.
"There are real issues regarding representation in fashion—it’s our responsibility to acknowledge those issues and communicate through them to work towards a more diverse industry.”
In an email to InStyle, a representative for Conde Nast Italia issued the following statement: "In our latest cover shoot by Steven Klein, the vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylized bronzing effect. We understand that the result has caused some debate with our readers, and we sincerely apologize if we have caused any offence."
A learning experience for all.