Anna Wintour Rival's Racial Stumble

Last year it looked like the baby Vogue editors outshined the top dog. Now it seems those stars are dimming, most recently with an absurd quote from atop Vogue Italia.

In the Times, Guy Trebay today rattled off the fashion houses lacking a single black, Latino or Asian model in the recent shows in Milan: Jil Sander, Missoni, Burberry, Trussardi, Bottega Veneta, Gianfranco Ferre, Roberto Cavalli, Prada.

"The same can be said of the staff at most Italian fashion magazines," he added, before recalling Italian Vogue's well-publicized all-black issue this summer and crediting photographer Steven Meisel as the inspiration.

In July, Meisel shared credit in the Times with Vogue Italia editor Franco Sozzani, who according to writer Cathy Horyn gave the magazine "a reputation for being more about art and ideas than commerce. Ms. Sozzani also doesn’t mind controversy." The ensuing comparisons to U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour were inevitable.

Asked about the all-white models in Milan, however, Sozzani gave the Times this inadvisable quote:

"Maybe they think it’s too obvious” to feature an ethnically inclusive runway casting in the week of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Franca Sozzani, the Vogue Italia editor, said of designers. “It has nothing to do with a racist attitude,” the editor insisted moments before the start of a Gucci show in which, as it happened, all of the models were white.

First the promising Aliona Doletskaya of Russian Vogue turned out to have quite a rap sheet, now the Italian editor thinks non-white models are a "maybe... too obvious" gimmick. Those who have conceivably upstaged Wintour seem to be falling out of the running rather steadily these past two months. Just in time for her big documentary close-up.