As I skimmed Instagram like I always do on a daily basis, I ran across a post from NY Times Instagram on Valentino’s collection from Paris fashion week. But that was not what caught my attention. I normally do not read the comments on posts, but this one got me intrigued, which enthralled me to write this.
Does anyone own the cornrow? For some people, it’s an important part of black culture. For others, it’s just a hairstyle. Valentino did acknowledge that its October show at Paris Fashion Week was inspired by African culture. The hairstylist for it, Guido Palau, created cornrows with a braided bun at the top. Fashionista.com reported that only 10 of the models in the show were black, and it was only a matter of minutes after images of the white models wearing cornrows spread around the Internet that several people decried the show. Read more at the link in our profile. Photo by @landonnordeman for The New York Times
Valentino has brought some pretty prodigious collections, and an innovational way the brand expresses the collection through hair and make up has always been prolific. For example, for the brands SS16 collection, the brand exalted itself again with their collection inspired by African culture. It was not without criticism though immediately after the presentation.
Hairstylist, Guido Palau created cornrows with a braided bun at the top; now generally in the fashion and stylist world, this is considered ingenious, creative and beautiful, but it offended some in the black community. The reason perhaps? The fact that ten of the models were black and the remaining were white. Ok, I get it, the collection was based around the African culture, but my opinion on the whole debacle is this; why cry foul on creativeness and art? Does everything have to be based around race?
I state my basis on the fact that yes, cornrows are an African hair technique, but we must remember that this hairstyle was brought into today’s modern world from Africa and has transcended into millions of other ethnicities wearing the style. As I scrolled through the comments and read each long one, there was a sentiment of resentment from several followers because of styling of the hair. When it comes to fashion and beauty, each artists takes from cues and examples from every culture around the world and uses those as stage for what their going to create.
Whether it be a collection, hair or makeup style, but just because they’re using another culture’s traditions does not mean they have to use someone of that culture or heritage. It just does not work that way in the industry. Those of us that live it day in and out get this, we get that it’s all about theme and collection, but yet still maintaining that authenticity of each culture we are trying to acknowledge.
It’s not about political correctiveness and having to use a model of that specific heritage, it’s about the art and creativeness. We must remember to try and keep race out of art and the artist trying to convey their message to the media, buyers and investors. Followers and readers must try and keep open mind to the fashion industry.