Kendall Jenner And Victoria's Secret Are Under Fire For Cultural Appropriation

by Taylor Ortega

The controversy surrounding the cultural appropriation of Karlie Kloss' Native American headdress at the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and VS's resulting apology does not appear to have informed the lingerie company's approach to their 2016 show.

A now-deleted post on Cosmopolitan.com by Helin Jung took issue with a few of the designs appearing in the upcoming December 5 show, shot earlier this week at the Grand Palais in Paris.

In an excerpt published by E!, Jung writes,

Stripping of cultures aside, the emblems that stood out most were the ones that came from Asia—specifically China… The dragon that Elsa Hosk wore wrapped around her body, the embroidered stiletto boots seen on Adriana Lima, the tail made of flames worn by Kendall Jenner. There's a lot of talk of China as a dominant world power of the 21st century, and the US government, Hollywood, and now Victoria's Secret, it seems, are pivoting to face a new reality. But the Orientalism on display here doesn't show an understanding or an attempt at dialogue. It doesn't close any gaps… The brand and its creative leads shamelessly cherry-picked imagery, breaking apart aesthetic references from wherever they wanted and stitching them back together again. They're telling us its worldliness. It's not, it's a hack job.

Users on Twitter have also expressed discomfort with Victoria's Secret relying on aspects of other cultures to sell underwear.

"exotic traveler" portion of victorias secret fashion show aka "look at this lingerie dressed up in cultural appropriation" — Ro (@ItsRowynne) December 12, 2014
Can we talk about how offensive appropriation can be and yet major companies like Victorias Secret CONTINUE TO SEXUALIZE OTHER CULTURES pic.twitter.com/4Syvn2ai24 — Cam (@CamilaSmiles) December 1, 2016

During the 2012 backlash, Victoria's Secret apologized to offended parties online, writing,

We are sorry that the Native American headdress in our fashion show has upset individuals. The outfit will be removed from the broadcast.

Karlie Kloss also extended an apology to those affected by the tone-deaf decision.

She tweeted,

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.

Victoria's Secret has not yet commented on whether this year's broadcast will be subject to change based on viewers' preliminary reactions.

Citations: Victoria's Secret Accused of Cultural Appropriation Again (E!)