Marc Jacobs closed NYFW on Thursday evening with a buzzworthy show that saw Taylor Hill, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner storm the catwalk in an array of rave-inspired getups. And whilst the runway had the fash pack delivering, ahem, rave reviews, the show also got some backlash amongst social media users.
The controversy stemmed from the designer's use of fake dreadlocks on the models, with many Instagram users calling him out for cultural appropriation.
The back story to the colourful locks is that Guido Palau, the hairstylists for the show, found Jena Counts, an Etsy store owner who produces hand-dyed and hand-rolled wool dreadlocks, and had her dip-dye her extensions in an array of colours (300 to be exact) to use in the show. Of the look, Guido said, "The interesting thing about Marc is how he takes something so street and so raw, and because of the colouration of the hair and make-up, it becomes a total look." References for the look include Boy Goerge, Harajuku and 1980s rave culture, plus the brand's S/S16 campaign face Lana Wachowski. When asked by Bazaar UK, Guido was adamant that he didn't reference Rastafarian culture when creating the look. " No, not at all. I don't really think about [the politics of the look]. I take inspiration from every culture. Style comes from clashing things. It's always been there - if you're creative, if you make food, music, fashion, whatever, you're inspired by everything. it's not homogeneous. Different cultures mix all the time."
Thousands of users took the Jacobs' Instagram page to voice their displeasure at the dreadlocks, but Marc responded to the criticism writing, "All who cry 'cultural appropriation' or whatever nonsense about any race or skin colour wearing their hair in a particular style or manner - funny how you don't criticise women of colour for straightening their hair. I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don't see colour or race - I see people. I'm sorry to read that so many people are so narrow-minded... Love is the answer. Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing. Think about it."
His response didn't do much to calm the critics, but seemingly added fuel to the fire. One thing's for sure, he's certainly got everyone talking.