Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garçons took the stage sporting interesting outfits at Paris fashion week, but white models in cornrow wigs were the talk of the runway.
The alleged cultural appropriation was noticed by Diet Prada, who also called out Gucci over the “blackface” designs last year. In an Instagram post, Diet Prada hinted that the models appeared to be embarrassed. “The look on the models’ faces says it all,” the user posted to 1.7 million followers.
During the Saturday show, one Black model also wore the wig, while two others sported short dreadlocks. Black supermodel Adwoa Aboah commented on the use of the wigs with “Are we surprised?”
Comme des Garçons came under criticism in 2018 for failing to use Black models for 20 years, according to Yahoo News.
In response, French hairstylist Julien d’Ys stated the choice of wigs is a nod to ancient Egyptians instead of the perceived cornrows. In an Instagram post, he shared sketches that show he was inspired by Egyptian pharaoh hair, which was met with users asking why Egyptian models were not used in the show. d’Ys would later issue an apology in a second post.
“My inspiration for the Comme des Garçons show was an Egyptian prince, a look I found truly beautiful and inspirational,” he wrote on Instagram. “A look that was an hommage. Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did I deeply apologise.”
Comme des Garçons issued an apology to Dazed:
“The inspiration for the headpieces for Comme des Garçons menswear FW’20 show was the look of an Egyptian prince. It was never ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused.”
Paris fashion week wrapped on Sunday with Dior and Iris Van Herpen taking the spotlight on Sunday.