Karlie Kloss apologizes after outrage over Vogue's geisha shoot in 'diversity issue'
Supermodel Karlie Kloss has apologized for any offence caused by posing as a geisha for a new Vogue photoshoot aimed at celebrating diversity.
The runway beauty features in the fashion magazine’s “diversity themed” March issue, in which she dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, complete with a Shimada-style nihongami wig, for a series of images shot by Mikael Jansson in Japan.
In the pictures, Karlie was photographed beside a sumo wrestler and walking in a kimono outside a tea house. The set up was reportedly staged as a tribute to a 1966 Vogue shoot by Richard Avedon, who captured similar images of German stunner Veruschka von Lehndorff, according to People.com.
Karlie for Vogue US - March 2017 pic.twitter.com/Pbo9rssT8p— bestkkpics (@bestkkpics) February 14, 2017
However, Karlie’s portrayal of a Japanese geisha was not received well by social media users, who accused the model and Vogue editors of cultural appropriation.
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. "Your turn, girl."— Ira Madison III (@ira) February 14, 2017
Karlie on phone: "Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian." pic.twitter.com/zgUWIB022Q
They could have just cast an East Asian model. But no, that would make sense. https://t.co/hRUQRuMJMi— Christiana A Mbakwe (@Christiana1987) February 14, 2017
For real, Vogue? A photo shoot featuring Karlie Kloss as a geisha? In the so-called "diversity" issue, no less. https://t.co/bgpKXHw35N— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) February 15, 2017
Karlie Kloss gets a 6-page spread in yellowface for Vogue's DIVERSITY ISSUE... while Imaan Hammam & Liu Wen get one pic each... the irony pic.twitter.com/fXn9Ikz7ik— Nerdy Asians (@NerdyAsians) February 15, 2017
The backlash prompted Vogue officials to remove the photos from the magazine’s website, and on Wednesday, Karlie herself took to Twitter to express her regret about the shoot.
“These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive,” she shared, before vowing to take a stand with her future modelling gigs.
She added, “My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission.”
It’s not the first time Karlie has been accused of cultural appropriation - she also had to issue an apology in 2012, after wearing a Native American-style headdress and matching lingerie for that year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.