All The Ways Thandiwe Newton’s Vibrant Vogue Shoot Reflects Her Dual Heritage
Thandiwe Newton’s British Vogue May cover shoot is a cacophony of bold colour and print celebrating a cross-section of cultures. Handwoven striped Kenneth Ize separates, preserving centuries-old African craftsmanship techniques, sit next to British heritage checked blazers, with vintage brooches pinned to the lapels, by Holland & Holland. Duro Olowu’s brilliant clashing pattern combinations, inspired by the work of African-American artists, are amplified by whimsical corsages from New York’s family-run flower specialists M&S Schmalberg. A glittering Alexandre Vauthier slip dress looks exquisite when teamed with a crystal-flecked durag by self-taught designer Cheyenne Kimora, whose work honours Black history. This diverse display of global talent is par for the course on the pages of Edward Enninful’s Vogue, but for Newton it was imperative that her portraits represent her.
“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me,” asserts Newton. “And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as ‘others’, which is what happens when you’re the only one.” This has not always been the case, as Diana Evans finds out in the pair’s intimate conversation for the May issue, which took place 22 years after their first encounter, and after several lifetimes’ worth of learning curves for Thandiwe.