By Elizabeth Cooper
For once, I applaud the fashion industry. Usually, when I think of fancy magazines and runways, I want to cry or yell to express my frustration at their generally limited portrayal of beauty as white and skinny. But recently, I had something to smile about. Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci cast his transgender personal assistant, Lea T., in his ad campaign. Best of all, it seems like he didn’t do it as a ploy for diversity, but rather because he respects her, considers her “part of the family“ and thought that having a transgender person “exemplifies the masculine-feminine dichotomy” that he tries to portray through his line.
As a result of his decision and amongst a lot of hype, French Vogue, apparently the “the hipper sister of American Vogue,” has chosen to profile Lea T. with an article and a nude portrait in their next issue. As Salon’s broadsheet piece beautifully describes:
She is simply, arrestingly bare. With her long hair draped over her shoulders, Lea looks straight out of the Garden of Eden — and that is perhaps what’s most subversive about the photo: its ability to make us re-conceive of what we think of as “natural.”
Beautiful. Congrats, Riccardo Tisci and French Vogue.