Paris Is Burning

Pablo Contreras, Jakob Wiechmann, Simon Nessman. Ph: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for Givenchy S/S 09

What a glorious difference several days and a few thousand miles make. After the recent kerfuffle over the lack of color in Milan, designers showing in Paris are searing unforgettably gorgeous black, Latino and Asian male models onto the fashion world’s collective brain. Was Jean Paul Gaultier joining the rest of the world in Obama fever or celebrating black culture by putting massive Afros on the models? Most likely both;  very Afrodisiaque a la the recent Paris Vogue we say. It definitely could have been “awkward” to say the least if only white models were used. Thankfully, JPG used at least a dozen models of color, including several beautiful black and Asian children sprinting down the runway. He is after all, in the words of Tim Blanks the great humanist” who is not only “color-blind but gender- and faith- and age-blind. Thierry Mugler used 6 models of color including opening with runway mainstay top Asian model Philip Huang. I believe 6 was about the number of black and Asian models that I saw on ALL the runways in Milan, combined.

What did it for me though was Givenchy. Already huge fans of the powerful women’s campaign with Indian model Lakshmi Menon, we loved this season’s head turning image of Pablo Contreras. On Friday, Riccardo Tisci put his so called money where his mouth was. Givenchy not only opened with Pablo, the next 8 men that followed were all men of color-black, Latino and Asian. We think Mr. Tisci chose wisely.  His richly textured collection was made even more arresting with the backdrop of these elegant and powerful faces. Now this is fashion that we can support.

Jean Paul Gaultier: Young child opening the show. Paul Stiell. Ph: Alessandro Lucioni for

Thierry Mugler: Philip Huang. Ty Ogunkoya. Pics Coutorture via tfs.

Givenchy: Pablo Contreras. Dominique Hollington. Images from via tfs.

  1. “Jean Paul Gauthier: Young child opening the show. Paul Stiell. Ph: Alessandro Lucioni for”

    your welcome

  2. that’s fantastic, we need more ethnic models on the runway.

  3. Just comes to show that enough whining and complaining gets you somewhere. Maybe white people should start whining that they are underrepresented in the NFL and NBA.

  4. Viva la France! So Edgy and Artistic and Sexy and FASHIONABLE….This is why I LOVE Paris…….
    Trashy backwards Italian “designers” and Italian “fashion” – not so much.

  5. I hope this continues for the womenswear shows as well…There were more women of color at S/S 09 for sure than usual, but still, it were only 7 or 8.

    Tisci’s casts are always amazing…his taste in models is impeccable. He did the all black opening slots for women a few season ago as well with Naomi leading the pack. As much as I like that, it would also be great to just have them blend in with the rest of the cast. But really, why complain? His casts are just genious. S/S 09 was stellar….

  6. Give me a break black models are becoming popular but doing a great job. Its all about equality and when someone has the ability to do a job lets choose the best person for the job. What the hell all people no matter the color are buying clothes. Its called marketing to all your clients.Especially when you spend that type of money.

  7. well due to the reciession that the current country is in, blacks will continue to shop regardless so its a marketing trick. Whites will hold back while blacks will shop shop shop, thats jus they way they are

  8. both m/w tisci collection for givanchy r among the best of the season….n if italain r trashy..american r givanchy art director, mr tisci s italian, ysl art director mr pilati s italian…(wich r some of the most influencial maison)……that means NYSTATEOFMIND..doesnt it?…

  9. Betty,
    Aw, I was so excited to see more from him lol !
    Thanks for letting us know!


  10. To red,
    First of all, I dont think it’s politically correct to say whites and blacks. As an Asian person, what am I “yellow”? The yellows? But perhaps English is not your first language.. this is just to inform you, it doesn’t read right.
    2nd of all… what do you mean by “blacks will shop shop shop, that’s just the way they are”… You need to clarify that because it doesn’t read well what you mean..


  11. Betty, thanks

    Pablo Contreras and Ty are what we need to see more of.
    I would see them do more campaigns.
    Pablo with Omayhra Mota in ad or Pablo with either Arlenis or Sessilesile would be hot or Sessilesile with Ty in a Dior ad….. hmmmmmmm this season has a great stable of guys.

  12. Betty:

    I had the chance to be back stage at the GIVENCHY show last friday!’
    It was amazing to see the preparation; from the haircuts, line up, and ending of the show!!! Paris was not ready and on “fire” after the show…

  13. Where is VNY’s Darryl Vriesde? He was one of the few working black guys in milan (Armani, Bottega)

  14. Yet Agencies continue to say that the ethnic look doesn’t sell. I wonder why this is? My guess is in the next few years, coincidentally the years of Obama’s term(s), ethnic models will gain in popularity. [not to say they won’t be overshadowed still, but any improvement is good]

    To all you ethnic models out there:

    Go get ’em!

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