Anna Dello Russo Claims She Wasn’t ‘Trying To Make Crystal Renn Look Asian’

Last week, Japanese Vogue editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo released a behind-the-scenes video featuring Crystal Renn prepping and posing for an upcoming editorial. The video mostly shows Renn modeling androgynous looks, but at one point she’s sitting in a makeup chair, her eyes taped back. Many bloggers criticized the perceived insensitivity and more than one compared it to blackface.

Styleite had the opportunity to chat with ADR yesterday about her collaboration with Macy’s and ended up asking her outright what she was trying to do:

Styleite: [...] Some people accused you of trying to make Crystal Renn look Asian for an upcoming spread in Vogue Nippon. Is that what you were trying to do when you taped her eyes?

ADR: It was not to make her look Asian. That’s a typical beauty trick to make a cinematographic eye. I learned this from a makeup artist from Hollywood movie stars. He used this when he did something in a movie, to make a little bit of a kind of cinematographic eyes. SO many people asked me, “Why you don’t use Japanese?” I don’t want to use Japanese. She was looking like … like Sophia Loren. You know when you put eyeliner, eyelash. And she loved that.

Behind the scenes, you always want to create some dialiectic in your fashion. That’s why I put the behind the scenes what make people talking. But sometimes people talk about something crazy, just to make a little heavy. I don’t pretend to transform a European girl into a Japanese girl. This was just a beauty tips.

While it’s true that the stylized brow is common in fashion magazines, stylizing squinted eyes on a white girl in an Asian fashion magazine presents a separate set of problems.

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    • Alice

      I LOVE how people are saying that a taped eye is somehow “racist” and likening it to black face ESPECIALLY in Japanese vogue. Can hypocrisy reach any higher peaks? Have these people ever seen a Japanese fashion magazine? Almost every girl has her eyes either glued up or sliced into a rounder eye mimicking a double eyelid instead of having mono lids. Just about every girl is either wiged up or bleached out so that all of these Japanese girls are sporting blonde or light brown hair. All while wearing light coloured circle lense contacts to make their eyes as round as possible. On top of that these girls have so much contouring around their jaws and noses to give them a narrow pointed nose and an oval face. So when I open up these magazines and see a Japanese girl standing there, blue eyed, blonde haired, slim of nose, round of eye, oval of face and dressed up in Victorian era clothing I think, wow that’s white face.

      People are asking this woman, “why don’t you just use Japanese models if you are going to do that to their eyes” then I ask why don’t Japanese magazines just use white models if they’re going to do all that to them. Can you imagine how physiologically damaging it is for young girls in Japan to open up these magazines and see those images? They are basically being told that THIS is what is pretty. No images of girls with monolids, so therefore that can’t be pretty, no images of black hair, flatter nose bridges, dark eyes, or darker skin, no. That’s why the plastic surgery capital of the world is Thailand, thousands of people from Japan, Korea and China flock there every year to get cut up. It’s ethnic cleansing via the scalpel. How about people start focusing on that rather than chase makeup artists around giving girls insta face lifts via tape.