Commentary: More Fashion Foolishness in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 23:  A model poses backstage after the Givenchy Menswear Fall/Winter 2015-2016 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo: Michel Dufour/Getty Images)

Commentary: More Fashion Foolishness in Paris

Cultural appropriation hits new lows at the Givenchy men's show.

Published January 26, 2015

How many times does the class bully have to pull the chair out from under you before you stop getting mad when your butt hits the floor? At a certain point, as your bottom is making contact with the hardwood, don't you just accept that this is the way, the screwed up Circle of Life that goes bully, chair, fail?

If that’s too abstract a concept to grasp and you’re years beyond school bullies, here’s an example that everyone can relate to. The fashion industry, the underfed bully of the clothes-wearing world, gets to pull overpriced chairs out from under us every single time there is a Fashion Week. No model is too skinny and no cultural artifact or tradition is sacred as far as they’re concerned—and yet again and again, we gasp, we seethe, we rage, we can’t believe they would be so insensitive. But this is what they do and it’s up to us to stop feeling so verklempt…unless it’s going to lead to actual boycotts, not just more shocked complaining.

The latest case of Poor Sartorial Behavior came at the Paris menswear runway show for Givenchy. Forget the excess of baby hair slicked onto the heads of the male models—described cringingly by one UK paper as “a hybrid of Josephine Baker and Latino gangster.” Those were small potatoes for what Givenchy really wanted to serve up: models in manskirts with makeup made to look like Voodoo masks. Pat McGrath, the legendary makeup artist who did the show, created makeup that looked like fangs, or mouths wired shut and, most disturbingly, open sores all over the face and chest. It was intended to shock and to push the envelope—does Givenchy realize that the most it really did was show its ignorance?

Here’s our moment as a public to be in a Facebook-status rage or to use social media, and especially Twitter, for good by letting the folks at Givenchy know how wrong they were. After all, the only way to beat a bully is to show them you’re not afraid to speak up.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.



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(Photo: Michel Dufour/Getty Images)

Written by Ayana Byrd

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