The Italian edition of fashion magazine Vogue has apologised for a feature it published on "slave earrings" which it said were "worn by women of colour ... during the slave trade".
Vogue Italia found itself at the centre of a race row on Monday after the feature, published earlier this month, was shared by outraged readers on Twitter.
The article, headlined "Slave earrings", read: "If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on."
Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, sought to defuse the row in statement that described the article as a "really bad translation".
"We apologise for the inconvenience. It is a matter of really bad traslation from Italian into English," Sozzani said.
"The Italian word, which defines those kind of earrings, should instead be translated into 'ethnical style earrings'. Again, we are sorry about this mistake which we have just amended in the website."
The online-version of the article was amended on Monday to remove all references to the slave trade, and with the headline "Ethnic earrings".
The amended article read: "If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the late 18th century, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on."
However, commenters continued to protest at the magazine's use of the word "ethnic". One commenter, dubbed Alli cat, wrote: "Riiight. Now they're 'ethnic'?! My Italian may be a bit rusty, but I don't remember slave (i.e. Schiavo in Italian) being anywhere even roughly translated to 'ethnic' (Etnico). if so then you are implying that any person of ethnicity darker than white is un schiavo. Please don't act like we're stupid. This is insulting." Another poster, named Janeo, added: "How extremely distasteful. Whoever approved this should be sacked immediately." Three years ago Vogue Italia caused a sensation in the fashion industry with its "black issue" featuring only black models. It went on to become the magazine's biggest-selling issue ever.
VOGUE ITALIA (March 2009)