Bad Taste Or Just Outright Offensive? VOGUE Italia's 'Haute Mess' Editorial Is Just That...A Hot A$$ Mess!

Bad Taste Or Just Outright Offensive? VOGUE Italia’s ‘Haute Mess’ Editorial Is Just That…A Hot A$$ Mess!

Gorgeous gals with over the top hair and makeup sounds like a great idea in theory, but in VOGUE Italia’s execution, it failed horribly. Cover Girl Joan Smalls, and glam girls Jessica Stam,  Karen Elson, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Lindsey Wixson, Daphne Groeneveld, Guinevere van Seenus and Coco Rocha, were barely recognizable in the March issue of VOGUE Italia thanks to super makeup artist Pat McGrath. Pat’s talent to transform is undisputeable, but in this “ghetto fabulous/trashy” spread, it makes you think, is VOGUE Italia being racist?

The magazine has had its fair share of scrutiny (remember, last year’s “slave earrings“), which clearly proves they love pushing boundaries, but with this editorial, they may have pushed too damn far.

Many are raising an eyebrow at the photos because the women seem to be projecting some urban stereotypes. For example, the hair styles on the models are most likely to be spotted at a black hair show—we will give VOGUE Italia the benefit of the doubt that it was not their intention to be racist or offend anyone, but let’s keep it real for a minute: How many white girls (or any other ethnic backgrounds for that matter) do you know that dress or look like this? Exactly.

Racist may be a little harsh of a word to describe this editorial but it was definitely done in poor taste and judgement. Check out the full spread below and when you’re done, we definitely want to hear from you. 


  • Candacemcrae

    I dont like it, but it doesnt represent me or anyone I know. However, I can see how this will/would offend alot of people who gravitate towards these particular kinds of hairstyles.

  • dddooonnnttt

    Once again, white people look at something black and want to emulate it, but don’t want it to seem like they think it’s cool so they humiliate it too, without giving any credit to the original artists. 
    As ratched as it is, some of these women who do ‘fantasy’ weaves and nails are incredible artists. 

  • ijs

    Looks like the same people I see and wonder why! Don’t be offended stop looking a mess! If its not for a hair show or fashion show stop it.

    • tastythoughts

      thank you!

    • W0355568

      AGREE!!!!! I’m not offended b/c I don’t walk out the house looking like the women in these pics, but unfortunately I have seen black women looking a mess like this!!! Stop the foolishness and there won’t be anything to mock!!!

  • ChristinaMUA

    I agree that this is a way to humiliate us (us meaning urban youth)!  Its okay if Lady Gaga wants to wear meat all over her body. Its okay for fashion brands like Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Alexander McQueen to create similar over the top designs and then call it “Couture”. What about Harajuku girls in Japan? Fashion is a way to express your self and no one should poke fun at that! Especially a prestigious publication like Vogue Italia.

  • trox00

    I think it’s offensive since they are calling it “haute mess”. It’s like saying, “you might think you’re haute couture or highly fashionable, but in our eyes you’re hot mess! “

  • tastythoughts

    eyeroll, if people were not out there looking like this on purpose we wouldn’t have to worry about people quote on quote mocking us. get over it….i see real life women walking around with money glued to thier weave its time you learn its not cute. 

  • Am I ratchet for liking number 9? LOL, I would NEVER rock it myself, but I think it’s weirdly creative 🙁 SMH

  • My personal opinion is this, and I only have one statement. Poorly executed editorial they would have done better hiring my fav shuttebug David Lachapelle. Lachapelle has a quick eye, and genius for photographic wit and humor. This editorial should have came off very ‘tongue in cheek’, but with spotlight on designer items. I would have envisioned a editorial theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland  meets Compton’ , satirical fantasy and beauty-meeting the grit of urban based life styles. Instead we have a editorial that basically has no idea what to do with the subject matter. The photographs seem cheap and deliriously lazy in conceptualization. Thats it,….I am going to step down of my soap box. I don’t think the editorial had anything to do with racism, but more to do with innate arrogance. When one knows nothing of a culture, hire people that do,the end result will be an AUTHENTIC view into their lives, not a cheap hack just to stimulate  ’champagne and caviar’ conversation.

  • guest

     How could the term “Haute Mess” be a sign of admiration?

  • Harli

    Maybe, just MAYBE as Black people we shouldn’t put ourselves OUT there like that. Most Black people don’t dress, act or wear their hair that way. Yeah, it’s okay for a convention, but unfortunately we have girls coming outside wearing Skittles wrappers in their hair with Toucan Sam colors accompanying, and end up on Hot Ghetto Mess, or NoWayGirl. I’ve seen White girls, and Hispanic girls do the same. But the question is, when is it going to stop? Like somebody else pointed out, some of the fantasy weaves are downright spectacular; but if I see you with a helicopter on your head made of blonde & black weave, don’t think you aren’t a target.

  • Babylove

    Haute mess lol I think its funny and tacky & outside the box everything haute couture or even hood couture is suppose to be.

  • Harli

    Harajuku Girls aren’t inspired by us (African Americans), Gwen Stefani’s crew would make you think so, Nicki Minaj would sure like you to believe so, but Harajuku Girls dress in the fashion of anime characters, cyber-punk/steam-punk styles, Gothic Lolita, Ganguro and so on…only the men dress the “hip-hop” fashion. 
    I get what you’re saying wholeheartedly, but the Harajuku comparison is off =
    (PS: I hate that people are offended by it too, lol. Too many black girls walking around looking like this to take offense!)