Red carpet favourite Zuhair Murad has been accused of cultural appropriation after showing his ‘Indian Summer’ themed couture collection at Paris fashion week. The designer has been criticised for using several motifs from indigenous native American cultures without proper knowledge, in a similar vein to Victoria’s Secret, who were called out for outfitting models in headdresses a few years ago.
What made the situation worse was the show was promoted under the hashtag ‘#IndianSummer’. As the press release read: 'Native American culture - observed from a fantasised and respectful perspective - is at the heart of Zuhair Murad’s Spring 2018 Couture collection,' the fashion house stated. 'The house pays homage to the craftsmanship of an array of ancient tribes, notably the Sioux, the Navajos, the Iroquois, and celebrates their traditional prints, embroideries, and pictograms.'
Critics are saying that everything from the set - which featured tepee-like structures and pan-pipe music - to the hair, with every model wearing a feather - called to mind native American traditions. What’s more, several of the design details in the gowns were religious and sacred ones stolen from ingenious peoples, many of which were used out of context. For example, the eagle feather is a symbol of strength, wisdom and honour, and would never be used lightly.
Murad is known for his signature illusion dresses, which many A-listers choose for red carpet events, including Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift and Eva Longoria.
Couture fashion week in Paris has been riddled by controversy after Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko and influencer Miroslava Duma were accused of racism after the latter posted a picture of a note sent to her by the former which read ‘N* in Paris’, a reference to the Kanye West song of the same name. Since then, videos have been unearthed of Duma making homophobic and transphobic comments about Bryan Boy and Andeja Pejic respectively, causing outrage in the fashion industry.