You can count on Ashish Gupta for a a couple of things: clothing coated in sequins, and a runway beauty look of equal glittering levity. Last season, models walked (and, in a few cases, skateboarded) down the runway with colorful sequins sprinkled in their hair and stuck to their eyelids; for spring 2015, they wore similarly embellished makeup and shimmering extensions in their hair. Gupta didn't deprive his audience at his fall 2016 show on Monday, styling each woman in a different monochrome look paired with a matching afro wig, lipstick and nail polish — a "rainbow disco crayola dream," the designer called it on Instagram.
Gupta has a track record of hiring diverse groups of models for his London Fashion Week shows — underscoring fashion's tendency toward overwhelmingly white runways when he exclusively cast black models for spring 2015 — and this season was no exception. Still, styling the show's white models in rainbow-hued afros, created by hairstylist Ali Pirzadeh, isn't sitting well with some Instagram fans, who applaud Gupta's above-average commitment to diverse casting but see the move as yet another instance of cultural appropriation in fashion. As one commenter on the Ashish account points out, he "could have just used black girls instead." Another notes that, "black culture/features always seem to be appropriated and used as props when in reality black women lose jobs over their natural hair :(." Indeed, the issue of black hair and the industry's not wanting to deal with it was a hot topic this past New York Fashion Week.
We'll take this debate to our own comments section: what do you think of the look?