With all the controversy that always arises each time a designer or photographer paints a white model brown or black, you would think that the fashion set would avoid the stuff altogether. Even if you don’t intend to be offensive, why risk the backlash?
Maybe because backlash and offense equals publicity? This could have been the thinking behind the makeup at Claudio Cutugno, where we found models walking the runway with their faces covered in sparkly black paint. The paint was reportedly supposed to mimic the look of a face covered in insects, inspired by the art of Emilio Isgrò.
After “smells like weed-gate” this week, who has the time for this nonsense? We admit — this is a tough one. If we are to take the word of the designer, the makeup isn’t supposed to represent someone of any color, just someone who has a face full of bugs. Plus, the paint is sparkly and one could easily go on the defense by saying that human beings aren’t naturally covered in glitter, so it’s not blackface.
But seriously, why venture into this territory at all? There are too many people who have gotten upset over past blackface incidents for someone who follows fashion not to know that this is dubious territory. Besides, we can only find one model on the runway who actually looked like her face was being swarmed with bugs — except she was wearing a mask with a 3-D treatment, while the rest of the ones we saw were painted up.
Why not give all the models masks? Especially when the masks better communicate your inspiration. Glittery blackface tends to bring something else to mind, and it has nothing to do with riled-up insects. Also, a quick peek at Isgrò’s work and, maybe it’s just us, but we are not seeing the reference at all. How does one get black glitter from bees? Maybe the designer thought the sparkle would throw us off, but anyone with two eyes can see: This makeup is questionable as hell.
[h/t The Gloss]