>> Even after the groundbreaking all-black July 2008 Vogue Italia and the newly inaugurated President Obama, models of color are still having trouble taking the runway in Milan. After three days of menswear, only Giorgio Armani and Donatella Versace cast black models; Jil Sander, Gucci, Missoni, Burberry, Trussardi, Bottega Veneta, Gianfranco Ferre, Roberto Cavalli, and Prada did not.
Frida Giannini, who has cast exactly one black female model since since she took the reins at Gucci in 2005 — Chanel Iman — blamed modeling agencies: "I think it would be great if there was an industry initiative on this issue, because I am always looking for black models, or even Chinese or whatever, for the shows. I’m after a specific kind of look, and I request the agencies — I asked last season — to send me someone interesting. But they never send me anyone very new."
Finger-pointing seems to be the go-to excuse with this issue, but the owner of New York agency Red says he flew out three promising black models, who ended up with "amazing options, options I’d never seen before on black guys" for Prada or Jil Sander. Unfortunately, they all fell through before the shows.
Even Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia, who had such a hand in pinpointing the issue, seems ready to push it aside, blaming the lack of diversity on the fact that designers might see it is "too obvious" to cast black models the week of Obama's inauguration. “It has nothing to do with a racist attitude."