Japanese Models Absent From Armani’s Japanese-Inspired Couture Show

July 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

Although Japan was on Armani’s mind in the process of designing his latest couture collection, it certainly wasn’t when he was casting models. Out of the 44 looks that came down Armani’s mirrored runway yesterday, none of them were modeled by a Japanese person, or even a person of color. This white-out casting isn’t out of the ordinary in fashion shows, but it’s surprising in the context of the Armani’s Japanese theme, which produced dresses and pant suits adorned with cherry blossom prints and accessorized with oragami-inspired headpieces and obi-like belts. You would think Armani would have at least cast Japanese model Tao Okamoto, who was at Chanel yesterday.

Looks from Armani Prive

Armani should have taken advice from Ralph Lauren, who for his China-inspired F/W 11 collection cast new and old Chinese models throughout the show: Sui He, Lela Rose, Jing Ma, Ming Xi, Liu Wen, and Lily Zhi. While the show celebrated various aspects of Chinese culture, it also propelled a sizable group of Chinese models forward, giving them a modeling opportunity most often reserved for the standard ring of European and white American models, which includes Karlie Kloss, Freja Beha Erichsen, Abbey Lee, etc.

Rose, He, and Ma at Ralph Lauren's F/W 11 show

Although creating collections inspired by non-Western cultures makes me uncomfortable, I would prefer that when it happens that casting for the runway show reflects a wider appreciation of beauty from the cultures they are referencing. The Armani show clearly showed appreciation for the beauty of Japan’s art, flora, and history, but it would have been nice to see an appreciation for the beauty of Japanese people as well.

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§ 4 Responses to Japanese Models Absent From Armani’s Japanese-Inspired Couture Show

  • Cindy says:

    I think that’s the difference between an Asian-inspired show and a Asian fetish-inspired show..

  • […] As I wrote in a post yesterday, the Armani show was designed around a Japan theme, resulting in a stream of black  looks accented with traditional Japanese motifs like cherry blossoms in shades of salmon. The clothes seemed to have a strong structure to them, perhaps as a nod to oragami or the sometimes geometric quality of traditional Japanese robes. Overall, the collection was fine, though the mincing of the models’ steps was too much and the general cultural performance aspect kept me thinking of Epcot. The finale look was quite spectacular, however – a form fitting, long, strapless dress constructed in a slick mandarin-colored fabric with a band of silk at the hem covered in a delicate floral pattern. The model looked like a giant, luxurious gold fish, in a good way. […]

  • MosaMuse says:

    the industry has been like this for years…. and it doesn’t look like it really wants to change. its unfortunate

  • […] most impacting headwear statement of the season came from the Paris Couture shows last July. For Armani Privé’s controversial Japanese-inspired collection, legendary milliner Philip Treacy designed a small yet powerful set of hats that embodied the […]

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