Zuhair Murad was one of the designers taking part at the 2018 Paris Fashion Week. However, not everything went well for the fashion brand as it ended up getting some backlash for one collection he dubbed “Indian Summer.”
As its name suggests, the collection is a nod to the Native American culture. During the show, Murad had some models walking down the runway, pairing the designer’s haute couture collection with feathers in their hair – something which many deemed disrespectful.
These pieces from Zuhair Murad’s Spring 2018 Couture collection are beautiful.
Can we ask the stylist who thought feathers in the hair for a nod to Native American culture to….just, not? pic.twitter.com/iXU1CAN2Sr
— Havilland $avage. (@ToiMeetsWorld) January 24, 2018
Prior to the controversy, Murad explained in a statement that his admiration for Native American culture was why he brought it to his show. “The house pays homage to the craftmanship of an array of ancient tribes, notably the Sioux, the Navajos, the Iroquois, and celebrates their traditional prints, emnroideries dan pictograms,” so he said.
However, several people accused him of cultural appropriation. They took issues with the fact that eagle feathers donned by the models were something too significant to Native Americans to be used in such occassion, as well as some decorations used during the show, like some painted sticks that represent traditional teepee.
“Can we ask the stylist who thought feathers in the hair for a nod to Native American culture to… just not?” one protester said in a Twitter post. “It’s unclear what exactly is respectful about taking an eagle feather – a sacred symbol that confers great honour upon the wearer – and affixing it to a white model who parades it down a couture runway,” another agreed.
Zuhair Murad hasn’t responded to the criticism, though he acknowledged that it’s a “risky” decision to make Native American culture a theme of a fashion show. “For haute couture, it was risky, yes,” he told Vogue backstage. “But I said to myself, I want to go beyond my limits this time; I want to do a challenge.”