Every year, the world's top models show up to wear the most extravagant lingerie imaginable for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. And while it's always an entertaining spectacle and the show has drastically changed since it first began, there are still a few problematic themes that pop up during the show.
Here are 20 occasions when Victoria's Secret put cultural appropriation on the runway.
In 2012, Karlie Kloss wore a Native American headdress in the show.
Although the brand edited it out of its live broadcast, images still circulated and caused swift backlash. Kloss and the brand both published apologies, according to E! News. "We are sorry that the Native American headdress in our fashion show has upset individuals. The outfit will be removed from the broadcast," the brand said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Kloss said on Twitter, "I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS's decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast."
The 2016 show was LITTERED with cultural appropriation thanks to its "The Road Ahead" section.
The segment was supposed to pay homage to various cultures, such as China and Mexico, but it instead offended certain groups.
According to Teen Vogue, Jing Daily stated that those within the Chinese community felt the outfits should've been worn by more models of Asian descent beyond Liu Wen and Ming Xi. They also alluded to the fact that the designs unnecessarily sexualized a more "conservative" way of dressing in Chinese culture.
From the sexy obi belt to the random tassels, viewers were left confused.
According to E! News, writer Helin Jung explained in a now-deleted essay, "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 its worldliness. It's not, it's a hack job."
In 2014, the show featured an "Exotic Traveler" section that was even MORE culturally vague.
I'm still not exactly sure what the brand meant by "exotic traveler," but it definitely leaned on the more offensive side. Models of color Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio walked hand in hand during the show wearing their Fantasy Bras, but were styled in an "exotic" way. It's an honor to get to wear the Fantasy Bra, but it sucks when you have to be exotified for it.
IN 2010, its "Wild Things" segment was SUPER problematic, enough that a few news outlets called the brand out.
Colorlines noted that although dark-skinned models of color walked throughout the show, they were more present in the "Wild Things" segment. Meanwhile, The Grio explained, "[The segment] comes off culturally insensitive and pandering, a cheap way of feeling ethnic and diverse without contributing anything concrete."
In the segment, there was cheetah print lingerie. There was random tribal tattoos. They even had dancers who did culturally vague tribal dances. Even in 2010, I'm not sure how this was OK.
Were the models supposed to be animals? Or were they supposed to be "wild" people?
Either way it's pretty problematic, as CBS News pointed out at the time, to have all your Black models dressed up like this.
Apparently, the brand REALLY loves animal print/tribal themes because it wasn't the first time — there was a similar segment in 2002.
Starting around the 19:52 mark, the models sashay to a musical mix of monkeys and drums. Once again, there's a lot of unnecessary animal print.
Hopefully the brand will be more culturally relevant today rather than offensive, especially since it cast more models of Asian descent for its 2017 show.
This year's show will have eight Chinese models as it's set in Shanghai, according to Vogue UK. With the show being in Shanghai, maybe the brand will be more in tune with what's appropriate? We'll just have to wait and see.