• Wed, Dec 11 - 5:00 pm ET

Chanel’s Pre-Fall Show Features Headdresses And Racism

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Okay, it’s time to talk: we need to officially abolish the convoluted role discrimination has in the world of fashion. With an abundance of celebrities reprimanded recently, resulting in formal apologizes, it comes as a surprise that Karl Lagerfeld would still feel compelled to produce Chanel‘s Pre-Fall show with the theme of “Cowboys and Indians.” How are we unaware that this “trend” is distasteful beyond Halloween circa, uhh, the second grade?

The shock factor should be relatively low considering Lagerfeld is known for his audacious personality and is notorious for channeling cultural assumptions into his designs. But, still, I can’t help but wonder, when are we going to distinguish that it’s also offensive and unacceptable? Now would be good.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Because truly, creating styles to resemble the stereotypical portrayal of a specific ethnic group is not cultural–it’s racist. In spite of this, Chanel’s Pre-Fall show, which took place Tuesday night in Dallas in a barn-like venue, featured Navajo prints, American-Indian inspired accessories, turquoise jewelry, and cowboy boots. A theme intended to take us “straight to the Wild Wild West” (Will Smith would approve).

This is one of many native appropriations we’ve seen in recent years. In 2012, Karlie Kloss (A.K.A. the Victoria’s Secret angel who fueled my indulgence of self-deprecation last night) wore a headdress with her lingerie as ‘Thanksgiving.’ Although VS later apologized for this, a headdress doesn’t represent ‘Thanksgiving,’ but is instead a marginalized image that exposes a preconceived, inaccurate depiction of a historical event. It also fails to acknowledge the persecution and violence that subsequently occurred.

Recently, Washington Redskins owner refused to recognize the discrimination associated with his team’s derogatory name and symbol, in spite of voiced disapproval from ethnic groups. We also all remember Julianne Hough and her latest stint with blackface which, again, is inexcusable. To these instances, I must ask: where is everyone’s common sense?

While fashion should absolutely incorporate cultural influences, it should also be done in a way that doesn’t mock stereotypes or deprecate a group of people.

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  • Samantha_Escobar

    I’m not sure why so many design houses think this is a good idea, but it never seems to stop.

  • Sacher

    As long as K*nty Karl is in charge of Chanel, I think I’ll pass.

  • cas127

    So *any* artistic interpretation of another culture’s images – even if presented glamorously (or heaven forbid, satirically or humorously) is going to set off PC alarms?

    Get stuffed, turkey.

    (turkey not Turkey, for the habitually professionally offended).

  • corinnajune

    Unsurprising racist cultural appropriation from the fashion industry, when will they learn?! I avoid Chanel anything in general anyway, because Coco Chanel was an enthusiastic nazi collaborator and all around awful human being. For some reason it rarely is mentioned.

  • Emma Grimm

    This accusation is simply ridiculous. It’s a great collection that pays homage to Native Americans. Why do you accuse a German designer and not American designers who use some of those elements in their collections?