From a handful of fashion editorials (including V and Paris Vogue) to an America’s Next Top Model competition, in recent months quite a few outlets have incited a fury of controversy for showcasing models in blackface. Tyra Banks, host of the latter, defended the show’s usage of blackface as “stretch[ing] the definition of beauty.” The aforementioned two fashion rags had little to say about their politically incorrect move, and apparently the fashion industry can’t seem to kick its appetite for potentially offensive choices. Karl Lagerfeld is the latest culprit to join the racially insensitive bandwagon, but rather than stick to been-there-done-that blackface, the Kaiser is yet again testing the boundaries of propriety vs. avant garde with “yellow face.”
“In a potentially controversial move, Europeans in yellow face play some of the Chinese characters” in the video component to Lagerfeld’s latest collection for Chanel (titled Paris-Shanghai Métiers d’Art), says Women’s Wear Daily. “It is a homage to Europeans trying to look Chinese,” Lagerfeld said defensively.. “Like in ‘The Good Earth’, the people in the movie liked the idea that they had to look like Chinese. Or like actors in ‘Mme Butterfly’. People around the world like to dress up as different nationalities,” he added. Dressing up is one thing, to which anyone in fashion can attest. Lathering one’s face in makeup so as to appear of a different race is quite another. But hey, at least they weren’t fat.