The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is known for being extravagant and over-the-top. Models descend on the runway in lingerie and elaborate costumes: ornate headpieces, gigantic angel wings and sky-high stiletto sandals. Such adornment usually inspires awe, but one costume is causing controversy.
Supermodel Karlie Kloss hit the catwalk in Native American headdress wearing a bra and panties set replete with beading and fringe details. Critics were vocal about their distaste for the garment, specifically the headpiece which is traditionally reserved for the Chiefs of a tribe.
Following the backlash, Victoria’s Secret has decided to remove the look from the national airing of the show. They released this statement: “We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.”
Karlie Kloss followed with: “I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS’s decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.”
Not everyone finds the garment deplorable, but cultural appropriation always straddles the line between insensitivity and blatant disrespect. When you take into account the hyper-sexualized stereotype of the Native American woman, the costume appears even more offensive.