The provocative pic is just one of six different photos of the supermodel that will appear on the cover of Germany's Stern Fotografie, reports The Huffington Post.
To commemorate the style quarterly's 60th issue, Lagerfeld compiled 20 years' worth of his favorite Schiffer snapshots and photographed his muse in different "personas," including biker babe, sexy secretary, and, er, wearing dark makeup with an Afro.
While Lagerfeld may have intended the latter to be edgy, StyleList finds it somewhat offensive. (And Schiffer doesn't look all that comfortable herself.)
This isn't the first time the fashion industry has created controversy by making up models to resemble different ethnicities. French Vogue's October 2009 issue featured a portfolio of Dutch model Lara Stone painted head-to-toe in brown makeup, which editor Carine Roitfeld said was meant to celebrate Stone's funny teeth and fuller figure. Huh?
That same month, Tyra Banks followed suit by having her "America's Next Top Model" contestants pose in dark makeup to resemble the mixed-race Hapa people of Hawaii (she later issued an apology to those offended by the episode).
And last November, V Magazine did its part with their "Black Is the New Black" spread featuring model Sasha Pivovarova with painted skin. Hmm... somehow we don't see what message these magazines are trying to send.
Meanwhile, don't expect the stir surrounding Stern Fotografie to die down anytime soon: one of the cover shots also shows Schiffer in "yellow face," which Lagerfeld -- who heads Chanel, Fendi, and his own namesake line -- originated in his "Paris-Shanghai: A Fantasy" short film to make Caucasian models look Asian.
The designer then opened his Chanel Pre-Fall 2010 show in Shanghai with the movie, followed by a runway presentation of models sporting traditional Chinese-inspired fashions.
We hope the Kaiser sticks to creating beautiful clothing and stops refashioning faces.
So, what do you think of Lagerfeld's photographs? Are they edgy and artistic or just plain offensive? Leave a comment.
In related news, read about the designer's controversial comments regarding fuller-figured models.