Carlos Campos, the men’s wear designer known for his perfectly tailored suits, has announced that he will show his first women’s wear collection on September 7 at the Altman building in Chelsea. But Mr. Campos, who was born in Honduras, doesn’t plan to do it quietly: he will use only black models in his runway show.
According to a release, the designer’s inspiration was supermodel Iman and the collection is described as “Jet set rockstar—think David Bowie and Iman on holiday in the South of France.” You might recall that the July issue of Italian Vogue committed to featuring only black models shot by photographer Steven Meisel. And for Heatherette’s Spring ’08 collection, the designers Richie Rich and Trevor Rains began the runway show by sending out black models in frilly white frocks before bringing out white models in brightly colored garments.
While the Heatherette show didn’t get quite as much notice as the “black” issue of Italian Vogue, throwing an African-American girl in front of cameras has suddenly become the perfect way to get the media’s attention. We’re all for seeing more diversity in fashion, but should we interpret Mr. Campos’s show as having diversity for the sake of diversity, or just a publicity stunt?