Yesterday, we mentioned the fact that several magazines are featuring all-black male fashion editorials in their current issues. One of those magazines is Paper, the New York City-based fashion-forward lifestyle bible. Barack Obama fans will be particularly thrilled because the editorial is entitled "Mr. President" and is dedicated to the fashion aesthetic of the Democratic presidential front runner.
Well-known fashion photographer Richard Phibbs lensed the project. Phibbs, of course, was responsible for those sculpted and muscled images of Nigerian model Kwame. Speaking of African models, the lead model in this editorial is Red NYC's Salieu Jalloh, seen above, who is from Sierra Leone and was last seen ripping the runway for Sean John in its all-black male fashion show. Below is Ibrahim Baaith, also with Red NYC.
Red's Marcus Lloyd is also featured. Marcus and Ibrahim were also featured in the Sean John show.
The Obama fashion aesthetic—previously discussed on these pages and at The Huffington Post—certainly works to the candidate's advantage. The greys and muted colors convey a Kennedyesque earnestness, the open shirts are casual show confidence, at least in our opinion. The designers represented here are John Varvatos, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Michael Bastian. The models below, left to right, are Robert Joseph (Fusion), Sandy Oumar (Wilhelmina) and Ibrahim Baaith.
Cynics will probably dismiss the "Mr. President" fashion editorial as a gimmick, which would be typical, but that also demonstrates a failure to grasp at least some of the "meta" rationale for Obama's candidacy and/or presidency. If our country is going to have a black presidential nominee, or president, it opens a larger conversation on race. (The meta-conversation on Hillary Clinton's campaign and sexism, sadly, has yet to arrive.) Just like many boardrooms and executive offices, the fashion pages and runways are notoriously monochromatic. In the months to come, it's likely many companies will reevaluate their complexion of their executive offices, and more magazines and designers will hire more black models.
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