I like to think style is subjective. That peplum shirt may totally rock my world, but to you, it's far too Judy Jetson. I get it. That's fair. However, some fashions should be considered awful no matter who you are. I'm talking about items that are overtly racist, like the 'Mammy' earrings Dolce & Gabanna adorned a model with during their Spring 2013 runway show.
Insulting. Appalling. And totally out of line. Just as bad is their justification for the so-called fashion.
First off, let me explain the problem with this accessory. The earrings are miniature busts of black women with huge, red lips and sporting fruit-filled turbans. It basically looks like Hattie from Gone With the Wind. Apparently the baubles were inspired by a racist caricature called a "blackamoor" that was popular in the 1700s.
Responding to the backlash, D&G posted a statement on Swide.com:
They are everywhere on the creations of Dolce&Gabbana’s SS13 collection that was presented today in Milan, but they have come a long way. Swide tells you the story of these beautiful artefacts. [sic.]
You might have seen them in some villa or restaurant or hotel in Sicily, dominating the table: colourful head-shaped ceramic vases filled with beautiful flowers. But like many things in Italy, they are more than what they seem.
The head is inspired by Moorish features. Moorish is a term used to define many peoples throughout history. Medieval and early modern Europeans applied the name to the Berbers, Arabs, Muslim Iberians, and West Africans, although it has to be said that the term ‘Moorish’ has no real ethnological value. In Sicily’s case it defines the conquerors of Sicily. The first Muslim conquest of southern Italy lasted 75 years, from 827 to 902 AD.
I'm not quite sure that explanation makes this okay. Just because it has been used for years doesn't make it appropriate. It's insulting to many people (not just Blacks). You would think that would matter -- but it doesn't. Plus, they don't even look good. They are so tacky. What's the point? Quite frankly, they should be dropped -- end of story.
However, I have little hope of that actually happening. These fancy designers don't care about how insulted some people are. Far more important is making a buck -- or, rather, big bucks. (I am sure they have an outrageous price-tag.) In fact, they probably like the shock value. No bad publicity when it comes to haute fashion, I suppose. Bottom line, this is yet another example of how these big design houses are just not in touch with us regular folks -- especially those who know racism when we see it.
See the offensive earrings on the runway about 1:15 into the video:
What do you think of D&G's "blackamoor" earrings?