Recently I’ve been having conversations exploring Africa using the terms ‘self’ and ‘other’ as a basis for debate and discussion. It is fitting then that when presented with Valentino’s SS16 collection it was these very words that circulated in my mind.

The collection features white models styled in Kenyan inspired garments and cornrowed hair and is shot in a Maasai village in Kenya’s National Park.

imageLeading hairstylist on the project, Guido Palau, explains that as the clothes have twinge of tribal inspiration, it is essential that the hair carries such a feeling as well. What of the models, one is almost forced to ask.

There is an increasingly fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. Has Valention overstepped the mark here? If fashion is supposed to unite cultures and transcend boundaries, in what light are we to view the designer’s latest collection? Is he trying to unite or further emphasise the ‘otherness’ of Africa?

imageThis is not the first time the designer has faced backlash on a similar topic. Last year, in both both their look book and this  spring show, Valentino raised eyebrows by casting predominantly white models in an ‘African inspired’ campaign and show. How many times are we to forgive this oversight, if indeed we see it as one? What are your thoughts? Share your comments with us below.

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AUTHOR: Ama Badu (Senior Online Editor)

For reviews, premiers and red carpet events on the Afro-British scene, Ama is your go-to blogger. With an analytical mind and articulate tongue, she hopes to write articles that will get Africa (and indeed the world) discussing “real” issues and tangible solutions.

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