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.