'Vogue' Paris Puts Model of Color on Cover for 1st Time in 5 Years

Liya Kebede's cover is significant — and not only because she looks stunning.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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Liya Kebede's cover is significant — and not only because she looks stunning.
Photo: Inez & Vinoodh

Photo: Inez & Vinoodh

Not only are Vogue Paris's covers historically unvaried — Carolyn Murphy, Kate Moss, Lara Stone and Daria Werbowy have all fronted the glossy upwards of 10 times each — they're also overwhelmingly white. This is why the Condé Nast publication's May 2015 issue really stood out to us: It features Ethiopian-born model, designer and philanthropist Liya Kebede, who is the first woman of color to appear on the magazine's cover in half a decade. (Hat tip to Fashion Gone Rogue for pointing this out.)

Kebede has fronted Vogue Paris in the past, the last time in May of 2002. Rose Cordero was the next model of color to score a solo cover, but not until eight years later in March of 2010. Before that, in 2008, both Naomi Campbell and Noémie Lenoir were featured on covers, but both shared their month with a white supermodel — Kate Moss and Laetitia Casta, respectively. Despite their appearance inside the magazine's editorials and their status as globally known supermodels, neither Joan Smalls nor Jordan Dunn has ever covered Vogue Paris, although Dunn recently made headlines for her February 2015 issue of Vogue UK, as she was the first black model to cover the magazine since 2002. 

While diversity (or lack thereof) has been a hot-button issue in the fashion community for years now, the inclusion of models of color on the runways has begun to increase in recent seasons. But the mere fact that this cover is somewhat newsworthy proves that we still have a long way to go.