Fashion News Alert: Taylor Swift Collaborates with Stella McCartney, Carolina Herrera Accused of Cultural Appropriation, and Virgil Abloh’s Museum Exhibition

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Though Virgil Abloh’s fashion transcendency has been brief, he is already making a global impact on the fashion industry. In 2013 Abloh founded the fashion brand Off-White and in 2018 Abloh became the men’s creative director of Louis Vuitton. Additionally, Abloh has collaborated with Nike and scores of celebrities, including Serena Williams and Kanye West.

With this including accumulation of accomplishments in a short seven years, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has debuted an exhibition of Virgil Abloh’s work. The exhibition opened on June 10 and will run through September 22.

The Virgil Abloh presentation offers “an in-depth look at defining highlights of Abloh’s career including a program of cross-disciplinary offerings that will mirror the artist’s range of interests across music, fashion, architecture, and design,” details a Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

There is a Virgil Abloh pop-up store, Church & State, attached to the exhibition. The Church & State pop-up will offer visitors a retrospective of best-selling Off-White product and new, exclusive collections inspired by the exhibition.

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Carolina Herrera’s Mexican controversy

All fashion brands are inspired by and reference motifs, ideas, and design elements from a variety of cultural influences and countries. That said; when is this injection of cultural influences cultural appropriation or a respectful homage.

This dilemma has come into question, once again, with Carolina Herrera’s resort 2020 collection when creative director Wes Gordon drew inspiration from Mexico’s rich indigenous cultures.  Founder Carolina Herrera is a Venezuelan native and always injects Latin culture into her collections. But this time around things may be different.

In a press release from the Puig Group which owns Carolina Herrera, “Carolina Herrera’s [r]esort 2020 collection takes on the playful and colorful mood of a Latin holiday, from a sunrise in Tulum, the waves in José Ignacio and dancing in Buenos Aires to the colors of Cartagena.”

Hmm, that explanation was good enough. The Mexican government has accused Wes Gordon of misappropriating Mexico’s indigenous cultures in Carolina Herrera’s 2020 resort collection. Mexico’s Secretary of Culture Alejandra Frausto sent a letter to the brand, requesting “an explanation for the use of designs and embroidery belonging to native peoples.”

The artisanal design in question is a long white dress with animal and floral embroidery, which Frausto said come from the community of Tenango de Doria in Hidalgo. “In these embroideries is the history of the community itself, and each element has a personal, family and community meaning,” says Frausto in the letter, as reported in  Frausto continues, “It is a principle of ethical consideration that forces us to draw attention to an issue that can’t be ignored any longer: we must promote inclusion and make those who are invisible visible.”

Wes Gordon has responded by explaining that the collection has, “an undeniable Mexican presence”. “It’s something that jumps out at you and I always intended it to be something latent as a way of showing my love for this country and for all the incredible work I’ve seen there.” Gordon continues, “My admiration for the artisanal work has only grown as I have travelled to Mexico over the years. With this new collection, I have tried to highlight the importance of this magnificent cultural heritage.”

Still, is this paying homage or cultural appropriation. Let the people decide!!

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Swift and McCartney pair up

Taylor Swift and Stella McCartney are teaming up for a new clothing line linked to Swift’s latest album, “Lover.” The “Lover” album is set to release on August 23 with the clothing line hitting the market around the same time.

On an Instagram live video Taylor Swift detailed, “[Stella McCartney] been a friend for a really long time and also just a woman that I respect so much. I respect what she creates, how she creates it. There’s so much whimsy and imagination and romance to the clothing that she designs. I’ve worn a lot of her stuff recently, and she’s heard the new album, and this new collaboration is inspired by the album.”

There will be other product linked to the “Lover” album the clothing collaboration between Swift and McCartney. Most of the product is in the vein of tradition product that goes alongside product linked to music albums; however, the McCartney/Swift clothing will be more luxury fashion.

William S. Gooch

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