Whats wrong with this picture?

HB1

Discuss.

Every time I see Gabby in a fashion spread I sigh. This one however, is making me look around the room for the densest wall to bang my head against. In case you haven’t seen the pic already, its part of a feature from Harper’s Bazaar’s “Singular Beauties”  spread which celebrates the diversity of women who don’t fit the old fusty traditional image of beauty. I get that and I applaud it. But why did they make Gabby look a total mess?

I don’t even know where to begin as there is not a singular positive thing to say about any item in this “outfit”. It was meant to be a high fashion shoot in a high fashion magazine, shot by Karl Lagerfeld and styled by Corine Roitfiede. Two fashion heavyweights for goodness sake, and THIS is the best they could do? Karl L isn’t known for his love of the plus sized woman but I would have thought he’d at least make an effort on this occasion. Silly me. Carine Roitfiede is the new GLOBAL FASHION DIRECTOR of Harper’s and she should want to do a good job so she can show that the fashion direction is in good hands and she is worthy of the title. I mean- REALLY? The shoes look like they came free with a magazine, the leggings look like they’ve been washed and worn so many times that they’re begging to be put out of their misery and burned at the stake, the top is overstretched and ill-fitting, and the coat looks like it was borrowed from Kelly Price in the late 90’s and dyed red to try to make it look current. As though all this was not bad enough, the whole mess is quite literally crowned with a policeman’s helmet draped with a sari, in much the same way that you’d drape a scarf over a lampshade. Oh- and to add the final insult to an already horrific injury- a “talk to the hand” pose which does nothing to dispel the “angry black woman” stereotype- but don’t even get me started on that one. And this is Harper’s Bazaar. Shocking.

Plus model Candice Huffine is also included in the spread, and looks gorgeous.

HB2Every other woman in the shoot looks spectacular too.

HB3

HB4

If Harper’s really cared they could have gotten something custom-made to show that the singular beauties they have chosen can all wear high fashion and look fantastic, whatever their appearance . All Harper’s has managed to achieve however, is to single out Gabby and expose the magazine as possessing the same negative mainstream attitude to beauty and dressing a larger figure, which is the precise message they were trying to contradict. FAIL.

What says you, the reader?


23 Comments on “Whats wrong with this picture?”

  1. I’m speechless, and you know that doesn’t happen often. WTFF?!

    I’ve even tried imagining a regular sized model in that outfit and it still didn’t make any sense. Maybe they’re deliberately angling for negative feedback so they can say, “Well, we tried featuring plus size women in our magazine and the readers didn’t like it. They only want to see aspirational images so now we’re just going to go back to using the models we like.”

    • Ooops. Sorry, html malfunction. Italics end after “aspirational”!

      • Deena says:

        It must be bad if YOU’RE speechless.

        I was just sitting here remembering s shoot that a particular magazine did with Dawn French in the very early 90’s. It must have been around 91, maybe 92. I can’t remember which mag it was but Dawn looked spectacular in a custom made Vivienne Westwood outfit, complete with signature Viv platforms. I always remember this photo as it was something any size 10 woman would have worn. Magazines can make it happen if they care enough but HB clearly don’t. I think you’re right, it must be deliberate. Otherwise why would it happen?

      • I remember that piece very well. In fact it was an entire issue devoted to fat and body image. I think it was She magazine; I still have most of it in a file somewhere including that picture of Dawn French, which I had up on my pinboard for years. I did enter into some correspondence with them, asking why they couldn’t just aim their magazine at all women all the time instead of making a big tokenistic deal of one solitary issue. I’m sure you’ll be stunned to learn I never got a satisfactory answer.

      • Deena says:

        Ah yes- She Magazine! Thats a blast from the past. I think it was the only copy of that mag I ever bought, most likely because it was the fat issue, if thats the case. I kept it for years but have no idea where it is now. Hope I didn’t throw it out. No reply from them? no surprise there.

  2. gen321 says:

    This pic is horrifying!!! I feel like they are ridiculing Gabby. Everything!!! Everything about this picture is unflattering and insulting! I just don’t understand why she was styled like this, unless it is supposed to be a joke.

  3. gen321 says:

    Horrifying!!! Simply, horrifying!! I feel like someone was trying to make a fool of her! I am appalled by these pictures and feel for Gabby. I really do!

  4. Sad…we don’t know the entire story. Obviously Gabby was OK with the photo shoot and we just have to trust her on this one.

    • Deena says:

      True. Since writing this post I’ve read online that Gabby doesn’t take fashion shoots too seriously and likes to make fun of them in her own way. I just think that would have been a whole lot funnier if she was wearing something superfantastic while having the last laugh. This just makes it look like the joke’s on her.

  5. Francesca says:

    ugh, it’s so painful Gabourey often slays it on the red carpet so it makes it doubly awful that two so-called fashion experts have done this to her. Fuck Karl Lagerfeld, self-hating former fatty.

  6. Savanna says:

    WOW, I don’t know what to say about that first photo. The rest of them are fabulous! Thanks for having this great trendy womens fashion blog. I just discovered it and it is great!

  7. Ciaa says:

    When I first saw this picture I really thought they were perhaps going for Gabby’s funny side. After reading your post now I am really #smh. There is nothing haute couture about what she is wearing. With all the amazing designers out there she could have had a better outfit.

    • Deena says:

      I want to send her an outfit myself. Should never have happened. I read a comment on another website saying that the leggings and tee look like they were dragged out from under her bed. I actually laughed out loud because that’s exactly how they look.

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  11. Ursula says:

    Is this the HP Mardi Gras edition? Neither the top nor the coat fit Gabourey’s curves. The headgear is just plain ridiculous. And why is she being shown with an almost aggressive expression on her face?

    But then, I don’t think the other ladies look so great either. Except Candice Huffine, who comes out gorgeous – and outshines the girl next to her. The girl in pink looks like a stick-thin puppet peculiarly held up in the air and clad in a blouse that is too big for her frame. The woman with the baby is wearing a dress that creates quite an unflattering silhouette.

    Seems to me it’s not about making a big woman look bad, rather a job gone wrong.


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