Gigi Hadid on Vogue Sorry About the 'Blackface' ... But, It Ain't My Fault!

5/3/2018 12:29 PM PDT

Gigi Hadid Apologizes for Vogue Italia's 'Blackface' Cover

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12:40 PM PT -- Vogue just issued a statement to TMZ through its parent company, Conde Nast International, about the controversial cover, saying in part ... "In our latest cover shoot by Steven Klein, the vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylized bronzing effect. We understand that the result has caused some debate with our readers, and we sincerely apologize if we have caused any offence."

Gigi Hadid is issuing a mea culpa for what many fans perceived to be her in blackface on the new cover of Vogue Italia ... even though she's not taking any of the blame.

Gigi posted a statement in reaction to a ton of backlash she and Vogue received Thursday, after she was featured on the magazine's May 2018 cover, saying she had no creative control of the shoot ... including whatever happened to the photo later in editing.

The model admits to getting bronzed up for the shoot -- noting that's the style the photographer, Steven Klein, likes to roll with for projects. She says she was aware she'd come off as slightly darker ... but cops to the ultimate execution being bungled.

Gigi and Vogue got a similar reaction with another Vogue Italia cover from back in 2015 ... when she was photographed rocking an afro wig. While she proudly posted Thursday's new cover online at first ... she has since taken it down.