Vogue editor apologises for homeless woman photo

A Vogue editor (and descendent of German royalty) has apologised after her thoughtless Instagram post went viral.


Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, an editor at large for American Vogue got herself into a spot of bother over the weekend during Paris Fashion Week after posting a photo of a homeless woman appearing to read a copy of Vogue.

She captioned the photo, “Paris is full of surprises … and @voguemagazine readers even in unexpected corners.” Clearly von Thurn and Taxis followers are not as tone deaf as she appears to be, with many criticising the post by calling it “tasteless” and “awful.”

Von Thurn and Taxis initially defended the post, writing “The person to me is as dignified as anyone else!” She later took down the post, replacing it with an image of Paris and a caption

“I wanted to extend my sincerest apologies for the offence my post has caused.”

It might sound like something straight out of Zoolander (remember ‘derelicte chic’ and try not to think that the film was actually a documentary) but it’s not the first time that the fashion industry has delved into homelessness as a touchstone. Disgraced designer John Galliano tried to make homelessness chic happen in 2000 with a collection of tattered dresses and newspaper print inspired pieces, Vivienne Westwood sent male models down the catwalk in 2010 carrying bed rolls with ‘frost bite’ make up. Then there’s the fashion bloggers that photograph the ‘style’ of homeless people on the street.

You could argue that designers and the fashion industry were making a point about a social problem and bringing awareness to it – but in a billion dollar industry with the aim of selling clothes, it doesn’t sit well. It looks out of touch, which is of course the last thing that the fashion industry should be.

It’s too glib, and in ‘finding inspiration’ in less fortunate people it merely puts a high gloss on a deep societal problem.

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Dior’s ‘femme animale’

Florals may be a traditional source of inspiration for the House of Dior but this season Christian Dior artistic director Raf Simons turned his inner gaze to the animal kingdom instead.

The collection moves from the garden of the ‘femme fleur’ towards the terrain of the ‘femme animale’.

“I wanted the collection to deal with nature and femininity in a different way,” said Simons. “Away from the garden and the flower, to something more liberated, darker and more sexual … The idea of animals and an abstraction of their patterns became key; none of them literal, more the invention of a new species.”


Even though the collection is thoroughly modern, stepping firmly into the future with transparent-heeled vinyl boots and abstracted patterned knitted body suits, it referenced the past too. Here Dior’s revolutionary use of leopard print in his first 1947 offering found full flow in Simons 2015-16 interpretation. Abstracted and contrasted in a startling, hyper-natural colour palette, accessorised with bags echoing the idea of a new exotic species.


“I wanted that feeling of a sensory overload in the collection,” said Simons. “With this animalistic sexual woman wearing a new kind of camouflage.”


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