Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons Plus Homme presented a runway as part of Paris Fashion Week Men’s today (January 17, 2019) that’s been receiving a lot of coverage not for the fashion, but the models’ hair. Male models wore braided lace front wigs that were placed haphazardly on their heads with no effort to line up the hair line with the wig or hide the lace trim. At the same time, black models were either not wearing the lace front wigs or wore ones styled to look like natural hair.
The fashion industry has eternally been fascinated with black fashion trends with multiple labels including Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and more called out for race-related missteps including theft of design ideas and making use of racist tropes to sell product.
While Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo is widely admired for her talent as a groundbreaking, risk-taking designer, whatever reason she had for plopping lace front wigs on a bunch of awkward-looking white male models fell flat as a statement. Poking a bear that’s experienced a lifetime of being endlessly prodded and poked isn’t cool or artful, it’s just contemptuous and cruel.