Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Missing November

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I finally watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last night, and noticed…  November was missing in the Calendar Girls collection!


When models first hit the runway this year, Karlie Kloss’ November outfit featured a Native American headdress, turquoise jewelry, and buckskin lingerie. Soon after the show, the Native American community protested the airing of the design, saying it was a misinterpretation of their cultural attire. The controversy resulted the outfit being pulled from the broadcast, and an official apology by Victoria’s Secret, which Kloss echoed on Twitter.

While I understand some of the feelings behind the Native American community’s response to the outfit, I feel that there was no need to pull the outfit. Yes, I understand that the head dress is worn by chiefs and is a symbol of honour and respect; however I also feel that fashion is an art, and this is how one should look at the outfit. If this argument was made about a formal piece of art such as a painting, I doubt the piece would be taken out of an exhibit. You can’t say that the argument applies to one form of art and not another. How is fashion to grow if we put such limitations on it? Are we to now say you can no longer wear crosses or have designs featuring crosses because it is disrespectful to the Christian religion? I doubt anyone would think too much of that. Or in a cultural context, we see graphic prints inspired by tribal designs, which would have had meaning to that particular culture.

There is a difference between cultural appropriateness and taking inspiration from the culture. I can see that in the case of Victoria’s secret, they did throw a lot of items together that could be taken as stereotypically Native American, thus appropriating the culture. But as I understand it the controversy stemmed from the headdress and not the jewelry or choice of material. The November outfit was meant to show Thanksgiving, which originates from the Native Americans helping a group of pilgrims, feeding them during the winter and teaching them to grow their own food. I see the inclusion of the headdress as a testament to the natives who helped these pilgrims.

On another note, I think this year’s show was absolutely stunning, albeit a bit mellow, especially compared to last year’s.

What did you think of the show? The controversy?


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