The 60th anniversary issue of German mag Stern Fotografie features Karl Lagerfeld's comprehensive photography portfolio, specifically his shots of fellow German Claudia Schiffer. While we're head over heels with most of Karl's work, the six covers of the magazine are everything from crazy and sexy to mildly racist and altogether strange.
Styling Claudia in six wildly different ways for the cover, Karl banks on the viewer's ability to recognize the pop culture references implied. While they're meant to be iconic and kitschy, blackface is never a good idea.
Click through to see our take on each image.
Sexy Working Girl Claudia
Claudia channels earlier versions of herself in this sexed-up secretary still. A tried and true theme with less than exciting styling, the shot seems like it was ripped from an older portfolio dating around 1990. Nothing new here, but if we had to pick anyone to be our sexy co-worker, we'd probably pick Claudia. (Or Jon Kortajarena.)
The last we checked, Claudia Schiffer was 100% German and 0% Asian, so what's up with this photo? It's one thing to create clothing inspired by traditional Asian craftsmanship like Tom Ford's 2004 collection for YSL, but making European models into fake Asians is just wrong. If Karl had wanted racial diversity in his portfolio, perhaps he should have included more than just one model....
Aside from the insensitive racial treatment, Claudia also looks like she's wearing drag makeup, which we love, but would rather see in a Heatherette show.
Let Them Eat Cake Claudia
In this photo, Karl and Claudia channel Marie Antoinette. There's incredible hair and a gorgeous necklace, but neither the styling nor the composition is particularly innovative. If we were going to have a portfolio of our work highlighted in a magazine, we'd be going all out, not recycling cliché stereotypes. We know Karl has got bigger, more brilliant ideas up his sleeve.
Surprised Blackface Dynasty Claudia
If you were offended by faux Asian Claudia, there's also blackface Claudia to make you cringe. Blackface, seriously? It wasn't a good idea in Vogue Paris, and it's still not a good idea. Especially when Claudia is dressed like a cast member of Dynasty.
Boy meets girl in this androgynous photo of Claudia sporting round frame glasses. We love this photo because it's classically Karl: Buttoned up, sleek, mildly sexy, and overall chic. We wish this were the only cover Karl shot: It's Karl doing Karl, which is what everyone wants to see.