Controversial Vogue cover featuring model Gigi Hadid. (Pic: Instagram)

Gigi Hadid has apologised for her controversial new Vogue Italia cover shoot.

The 23-year-old model became the centre of a racial controversy debate after the cover of the May issue of the fashion magazine was published, showing Gigi with a heavily tanned face and barely recognisable as herself, which caused critics to accuse her of excessive photoshop and "blackface".

Controversial Vogue cover featuring model Gigi Hadid. (Pic: Instagram)

Gigi tweeted a paparazzi photograph of herself walking home from the photoshoot in a a grey hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, showing her heavily bronzed face, along with a statement saying sorry for any offence that may have been caused.

She wrote: "This is a photo of me returning home from shooting my Italian Vogue cover on April 3rd... you can see the level I had been bronzed to on set that day.

"Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent [sic] in terms of creative direction 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post is out of my control fully.

"The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S.Klein has done for many years and I believe what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively).

"BUT, although I understand what Vogue Italia's intentions were, it was not executed correctly, and the concerns that have been brought up are valid

"I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouching/coloring of the cover. "Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different. "Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from anyone else, and I hope this can be an example to other magazines and teams in the future.

"There are real issues regarding representation in fashion - it's our responsibility to acknowledge those issues and communicate through the to work towards a more diverse industry. (sic)"

A spokesperson for Vogue publishers Conde Nast has also issued a statement of apology.

They said: "Throughout its history, Vogue Italia has respected and encouraged the creative viewpoints of commissioned photographers.

"In our latest cover shoot by Steven Klein, the vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylised bronzing effect. We understand that the result has caused some debate with our readers, and we sincerely apologise if we have caused any offense."