Vogue’s April theme is — as the cover trumpets — “Beauty Without Borders,” and it comes with a host of covers and thirty women featured in the issue from all over the world:
The models photographed here—a total of 30 in the digital version of this story—represent 25 international editions of Vogue, and a far-reaching tapestry of nations beyond. At a time when many political leaders both here and abroad are increasingly looking inward—seemingly more concerned with building walls and policing borders than looking outside them—this group of models suggests a more expansive and inclusive way of seeing the world.As the fashion industry continues to address its shortcomings in the wake of #MeToo, and the conversation around the health and well-being of models continues to open up, the young women on these pages are raising their voices and asserting their individuality, their perspective, and their points of view.
I’m glad to see it; the mag has been such a dinosaur, and has come late to having much of a social conscience. I did, I admit, roll my eyes when I saw that Kaia Gerber is one of the featured three on the mothership’s cover (alongside Adut Akech and Ugbad Abdi). That may be unfair — she works a lot — but everything about her career feels like an attempt to suck up to the Instagram generation, and I think she’s one of the least compelling presences here.
Then again, she did at least give some sound bites about The State of Things. Some of the women, at least in the online excerpt, aren’t given much to say about anything other than how they got into the industry. But a huge part of the fight for inclusiveness is the visuals. Give these women your editorial space, and paint the picture of the world the way it is and the way other people ought to see it. Hopefully Vogue will do more than pay April lip service to the idea, and springboard into a diverse and inclusive and creative range of cover subjects that reflect society even more sharply. In other words, this is great, unless the other 11 months of the year we’re looking at a consumptively made-up Nicole Kidman on a grassy plain.