Cosmo Accuses Victoria’s Secret Of ‘Cultural Appropriation’ For What Happened During Fashion Show

(Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Feminist flagship magazine Cosmopolitan is calling some Victoria’s Secret lingerie “racist” after the company’s annual fashion show, which just taped on Wednesday in Paris, France.

The lingerie mega-store, whose models are as celebrated as film stars, was attempting to showcase “a celebration of culture” for this year’s holiday extravaganza, but Cosmo critic Helin Jung was having none of it.

Under the headline “Why Can’t Victoria’s Secret Stop Designing Racist Underwear?” she fumes, “Don’t let yourself be hoodwinked by Victoria’s Secret’s brazen attempt to re-label what is clearly cultural appropriation by turning it into a celebration of ‘culture.’ The brand and its creative leads shamelessly cherry-picked imagery, breaking apart aesthetic references from wherever they wanted and stitching them back together again. They’re telling us it’s worldliness. It’s not, it’s a hack job.”

Jung is especially outraged that the lingerie designers used “strips of culture” of diverse geographic origin, including Nepal, Peru, Mexico and China, something the critic dismisses as “too many bits of this and that,” all based on a premise of “unfortunate intentions.” The Scandalous Moment From The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show That Everyone Is Talking About

According to Cosmo, all of this multicultural mixing is just Western contempt for the natives. The show’s first number, entitled “The Road Ahead,” is ostensibly a salute to globally-influenced lingerie, but Jung isn’t buying it.

“It doesn’t get much more patronizing than that, does it? The original version is made by simple people (‘naive’) who make crafts (‘homespun’), and it’s Victoria’s Secret that can elevate the primitive to something more ‘luxurious.’ What would be the point of the corporation’s untold resources and unparalleled knowledge of world cultures if it couldn’t do that?” she asks. The Sexiest Looks From The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show [SLIDESHOW]

This year’s fashion show promises the usual attractions: more than 30 of Victoria’s Secret’s “Angel” models, a $3 million “fantasy” bra, as well as ever-morphing pop singer Lady Gaga — but for Cosmo, this “sexist, patriarchal, mostly white corporation continues to take what it wants for its own gain. Its exploitation of these cultural references is meant to lead directly to profits.”

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