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This year, two of the greatest female artists of the generation are featured on the September issue of Vogue US for Beyoncé; and of Vogue UK for Rihanna. It’s nothing but evident to declare that this is an absolute revolution regarding black history, as well as the fashion industry, with Rihanna being the first black woman to be featured on the September issue of British Vogue, and American Vogue hiring a black photographer for the first time in 126 years; all thanks to Beyoncé.
What does it mean to be african american? This is the question that sums up Beyoncé’s cover, in which she opens up about body image, pregnancy and the experience of researching her ancestral connections to slavery. Beyoncé remembers how she was told in the past that “black people did not sell “, and that she wouldn’t make it onto magazine covers. Today, she is on the most important issue of the biggest magazine, and she hired a young black photographer for it.
Beyoncé explains that when hiring the same people and same art, people « will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own». Therefore, «I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents », she says. She also talks about how it felt to be pregnant with twins and the difficulties she had to deal with, which in result, make her feel so ‘much more powerful’.
On the other hand, Rihanna’s cover reveals an entire different style and look. It is, after all, Edward Enninful’s first September issue as editor-in-chief. So, it had to be special. With a 400-page guide to everything fashion and style for the new seasons ahead, Enninful wanted an actual ‘british’ cover, shooting an homage to 90’s rave culture.
With the help of Nick Knight, Edward Enninul manages to put flowers in Rihanna’s hair, and give her eyebrows a thinner look. Rihanna, who for this September issue was interviewed about the topics of diva-dom and diversity, is the first black woman to be featured on British Vogue’s September issue, just like Edward is the first black and male editor-in-chief of Vogue UK. This is a remarkable step forward to enhance diversity in the fashion industry and therefore, history.
Artistically, Beyoncé has her hair designed in flowers as well, but remains so different from Rihanna’s look. While Beyoncé’s cover comes off as soft, ethereal, and peaceful, Rihanna sends a grunge allure. On the picture above, she is wearing a black floral dress Noir Kei Ninomiya at Dover Street Market and satin and suede boots by Gianvito Rossi. The flowers in her hair are put in a wild style, looking more like plants than soft roses. It’s wild, it’s raw, it’s delirious, it’s everything we wished to see in the industry.
These two artistic visions of one same styling can show, once again, how powerful the fashion world can be, and how artistic it can get. These two covers will remain unforgettable for their artistic and phenomenal work, but mostly for the change and effect they have on the fashion industry, on all communities and therefor society. This is definitely revolutionary and promising.