Yeah, so that Native American headdress Karlie Kloss wore with a fringed leather bikini at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show? That was a bad idea.
Victoria’s Secret showcased the look at the taping of its annual fashion extravaganza mere days after Gwen Stefani and No Doubt were forced to pull their new music video because Stefani was wearing… sexy Native American garb. Turns out Karlie’s headdress number won’t be getting any screen time either, when the fashion show airs in December.
Shortly after pictures from Wednesday’s Victoria’s Secret show hit the Internet, people took to the brand’s Facebook page in droves to express their anger over Karlie’s runway look. Commenter Jacqueline C. Wachell posted:
As a Native Women [sic], I want to share how disappointed I am in your lack of Cultural respect of traditional sacred items and our women in general. Native women have the highest rate of sexual related murder on the continent. Thank you for further promotion of this violent act against our women!!
Outrage spread quickly through the Native American community. (To add insult to injury, November is Native American Heritage Month). Sasha Houston Brown, a member of the Santee Sioux tribe of Nebraska, wrote on Indian Country:
Despite what dominant society and mainstream media say, Native culture is a vibrant and living culture. We are not a relic of the past, a theme or a trend, we are not a style or costume, we are not mascots, noble savages or romantic fictional entities. We are human beings and despite all odds, we have survived.
There are hundreds of other similar comments from Native Americans and non-Natives alike and Victoria’s Secret responded on Saturday with the following statement via its Facebook and Twitter:
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.
Even Karlie Kloss took to Twitter to express her regret for her part in the controversy, tweeting:
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.
This isn’t the first time Victoria’s Secret has weathered a cultural controversy. The brand came under fire at the end of September because of its “Sexy Little Geisha” lingerie set, which included a fan and chopsticks. VS later pulled the set from its website.
We can only assume that the company will stick to non-controversial themes like “sexy poodle” in the future. No poodles could possibly be offended by Doutzen Kroes’s portrayal in the show.