On Monday, the annual Victoria’s Secret show took place in Shanghai, which saw dozens of models take to the catwalk in elaborate lingerie and costumes. And, like most years, the show was not without controversy, with it now being accused of cultural appropriation, something it has been in hot water for many times before.
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One of the segments of the show was called ‘Nomadic Adventures’ and featured a number of tribal and Native American-inspired outfits. One ensemble in particular has had people on social media criticising the brand.
Austrian model Nadine Leopold took to the catwalk wearing a feathered headdress that didn’t look unlike a traditional war bonnet, which is said to be a symbol in many Native American tribes of respect and bravery.
One user commented on her Instagram post of the ensemble saying, “I genuinely hope you are Native American,” while another commented simply: “Sorry, but this is cultural appropriation”.
Another of Leopold’s followers explained to another why she thought there was something wrong with the ensemble: “I was just saying that issues with Native American traditions have come up in the past and Native people get offended and just don’t get how they keep happening again and again it’s like no one is learning from their mistakes.”
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On Twitter, it wasn’t just Leopold’s ensemble that was generating controversy, with one user joking that the theme of the show appeared to be “cultural appropriation”.
Apparently the theme of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show this year was cultural appropriation.
— Anna the Pumpkinator (@Galumbits) November 20, 2017
Things confirmed during the VS show: We as a society are not quite over hair chopsticks nor sexy war bonnets apparently! Maybe in 2018 ??
— Connie Wang (@conniewang) November 20, 2017
Victoria's secret is doing cultural appropriation again not surprising at all, but this year its a major one its almost like deliberately or am I missing that the theme was actually cultural appropriation.
— αυλια σαιδ (@auliafsaid) November 22, 2017
Leopold’s ensemble is not the first designed by Victoria’s Secret that has faced similar criticism. Back in 2012, Karlie Kloss was forced to apologise after taking to the catwalk in a full Native American headdress. The look didn’t make the TV broadcast.
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.
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) November 11, 2012
In 2016, a number of the models’ outfits came under fire for stealing from Asian culture and for the brand’s 2010 show, some darker-skinned models were dressed in animal prints, tribal tattoos and one was even given a neck ring and matching cuffs.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK