After consumers protested, the site took down the offending label and replaced it with "Ethnic Earrings."
"We apologise for the inconvenience. It is a matter of really bad translation from Italian into English," the magazine's editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, said in a statement. "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."
But the original copy (which the editors forgot to alter when they changed the earrings' name) suggests that this wasn't just another translation-software mishap like the one that led to last week's eBay "nigger bag." Instead, the name seems to have been pretty well thought out: "If the [Slave Earrings] bring to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the late 18th century, the latest interpretation is pure freedom," the description reads.
Clearly, the reference to slavery was intentional. And if Vogue Italia's writers agree with the many online commentators who see nothing wrong with referencing the style's so-called inspiration, the magazine would do better to explain why "slave" was a better descriptor than, say, "West African," rather than issue a disingenuous apology. Not surprisingly, what we've heard so far is as empty as the inside of those giant gold hoops.
Read more at the Frisky.
In other news: An Inside Look at the Future of Black Film.