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Milan Fashion Week: Gucci’s Controversial Cultural Representation

The Milan Fashion Week started on the February 21 will soon end on February 26. On the very first day, Gucci held an unusual and extraordinary show. In the middle of the runway, there were some surgical stretchers with some dramatic light above them.

Courtesy of GQ

The idea behind the stretchers was to symbolize how the designers “cut up” styles, colors, patterns, and eventually cultures.

As Gucci Fashion director, Michele, explained: “Our job is a surgical job: cutting and assembling and experimenting on the operating table.”

This obviously created some controversy. We saw a weird integration of cultures, including Sikh turbans and South American patterns, being worn on the runway by models who have no apparent relations to the cultures themselves.

While this could be simply be considered a matter of practicality or not even a relevant factor, we need to remember that while sharing and accepting other cultures is a wonderful message, finding models who could better represent them would have been a better choice.

Instead, turbans are being worn by white men and hats inspired by Japanese architecture by a non-Asian model.

Courtesy of The Sun
Courtesy of BBC News

Moreover, Michele claims that this concept comes from an essay that rejects the ideas of boundaries and embraces a “pluriverse” view of culture. Even though more diverse cultural representation is something largely advocated and asked for right now–and more and more movies and stories of people from different ethnicities are being published–we are still fighting for cultural authenticity in representation in the media and in society.

A diverse and “pluriverse” representation should start with authenticity. 

Choose the people you took the inspiration from. Show the real origin of that culture by choosing authentic models to represent it. That’s respect. That’s appreciation. That’s diversity.

Cover Image Courtesy of GQ

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