Monday, November 25, 2013

Naked Oprahs as Dresses vs. Naked White Women as Scarves

[via Instagram via VICE]

Let's play compare and contrast:

1. Peggy Noland, the "white trash meets high class" fashion designer who makes logo mashup outfits and customized Miley Cyrus' Air Jordans (in that maybe-paid advertisement music video I wrote about last month), has been gaining buzz among the NYC/LA tastemaker contingent. 

But her and designer Sally Thurer's recent collection of dresses featuring recent Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Oprah's naked body [NSFW] has been decried as shock-value racism.
The dress is anything but “lighthearted.” She chose to use Oprah’s image — as the most powerful black woman in entertainment who’s waged a very public battle over her weight throughout her career— instead of, say, an actual designer, because it’s something that will create a spectacle.
In a curious local twist for Chicagoans, Noonan explained her inspiration in an interview with The Cut:
There's a David Nelson painting of the former mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. He's nude except for women's lingerie. It caused this huge uproar in the late eighties in Chicago. It's kind of an updated version of that. We feel very protective of our public figures. We don't want them to be exposed that way, but we feel like they're ours, too. The simpler, more lighthearted idea is that it's like one of those bikini-printed beach shirts. I think there are some really meaningful philosophical layers. I can’t believe I just said "philosophical" when talking about a dress. We share a humorous underpinning to all our work. That's why there's naked Oprah with a KISS face. It can nod to how ridiculous the fashion industry is at times.
2. NYC performance artist Nate Hill's latest project is wearing white women as scarves in a project called Trophy Scarves [NSFW].

The tagline is to-the-point:
I wear white women for status and power.
He also created White Power Milk - an online website selling milk that has been gargled by college-educated white girls.

In addition, his Soundcloud page makes supercuts of black references to white girls in rap.



Are they making clever, provocative critiques?

Or merely using nude female bodies and race-baiting for notoriety?

Discuss.

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