So yeaaaaaa the Pre-Fall 2016 collection for Valentino….there is a highly-uncomfortable amount of
borrowing stealing from other cultures happening…
I mean, I’m happy that this design house is now helmed by a woman (Maria Grazia Chiuri is the designer, along with Pierpaolo Piccioli), but this collection is pretty rough. Vogue Runway writer Nicole Phelps notes in her review of the collection:
” Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage and, most recently, explored African themes on their Spring runway, Chiuri and Piccioli merged west (New York and other bits of Americana) with the east of Japan here. The way the showroom was divided accentuated the differences. New York was irrepressibly colorful and smothered with stars, fringe, tie-dye, and the Chrysler Building kitschily picked out in metallic sequins. The Japanese section was subtler, with an emphasis on neutral hues and humble wabi-sabi embroideries of cherry blossoms, clouds, and flying birds on outerwear featuring traditional quilted linings. Bamboo prints turned up on simple long-sleeved dresses, pajama sets, and button-down and pleated skirt combos. But in fact there was a lot of cross-pollination. A karate gi got the tie-dye treatment, and Mt. Fuji mingled with red, white, and blue fireworks on a minidress and a double-face coat.”
- emphasis mine, read the whole review by Nicole Phelps here
Very uncomfortable. “Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage,” smacks of white privilege–i.e., white designers being lazy, privileged and bored by their own white cultures, they move on to go steal ideas, prints, and designs from other cultures.
I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not happy to see this hairstyle on white models:
Yes, there was one token black model modeling for the lookbook, but token hiring practices are hardly a “get out of racism free” card in fashion. And yes, not every look is an egregious example of cultural appropriation.
But still, there was a helluva lot of fringe, Asian-inspired prints, and even heavy borrowing from Rastafarian cultures.
For me at least, this collection strikes out, big time. It’s lazy and uninspired. It’s the epitome of shameless stealing in couture-level design. Better luck next time, kids.
Bonus reading: I’m Ready For A New Conversation on Cultural Appropriation.