The British Vogue April 2021 Cover is here and it features 4 covers with 4 models:
The words from the Editor in Chief, Mr Enniful himself says:
Blazoned across the cover of Vogue’s April issue is a word I have been thinking about a lot recently: joy. Given the state of the world, even to write it down feels slightly daring. However, as basic human needs go, in recent times we have all had an insight into the importance of joy, and why it should never be taken for granted.Edward Enniful, British Vogue
The intricate art of sculpted hair celebrating black identity is front and centre of British Vogue’s April issue. Made up of four different covers around the theme of “joy”, each edition features different models (Achenrin Madit, Precious Lee, Mona Tougaard and Janaye Furman) with their hair moulded into spherical, coloured balls.
But the trend is not new. “In the 60s and 70s hair sculpture became part of the black consciousness movement,” says Prof Carol Tulloch, the author of The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African ciaspora. “Gravity-defying hair creations contributed to the black is beautiful [ideology] and revelled in the beauty of black hair.”
All of this has been much on my mind as we move deeper into another complicated year. One afternoon, I was speaking with the photographer Steven Meisel, who was at home in New York,
and we got to talking, as we often do, about how best to distil the mood of now. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I said, as this markedly hesitant springtime begins, to dedicate this month’s Vogue covers – there are four of them – to the intoxicating and audacious power of joy?Edward Enniful
Bold colours, exaggerated lines, exuberant smiles, sparkling eyes, glorious skin, celebration and confidence were all in order. We immediately began to assemble the team, and work out who the models might be. I could not be more thrilled with the final casting of our cover stars: Janaye Furman, Precious Lee, Achenrin Madit and Mona Tougaard – a quartet of extraordinary Black models currently enjoying great success in the industry. It goes without saying that they all understood that when it came to projecting positivity, Black joy – in the wake of so much recent reckoning – would hold particular significance. I love how each of these women ran with the theme and embodied the mood of the moment in her own way.Edward Enniful
The summer campaign for Marc Jacobs’ bags featured remarkable photos of the artist Laetitia Ky with her hair shaped into a hand, a dog, and the initials of the designer. Ky’s Instagram account features her using wire, wool and needles to create political hair art structures that symbolise police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The purpose of my art has always been to fight for equality, to empower people and to promote the beauty of blackness,” Ky, 25, says. “I can’t imagine stopping using my art to fight.”
Ky takes inspiration from the coifs of pre-colonial Africa, where certain tribes would mould their hair to express power and strength. These hairstyles were documented in photographs by white travellers and anthropologists and rendered by artists.
Tulloch mentions a cover of Harper’s Bazaar featuring an illustration by the artist Aaron Douglas from 1927 with a Mangbetu woman whose hair is “fanned out into a broad trump”, and a sculpture by Dora Gordine from 1928 featuring “the head of a black woman from Guadeloupe, her seemingly natural hair moulded … to create a high crown”.
For Ky, hair sculpture is a perfect merging of art and activism. “Using a creative way to speak about important topics is a very efficient way to raise awareness,” she says.
The April 2021 issue of British Vogue is on newsstands on 12 March.
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