Valentino clearly didn't take those comments about cultural appropriation from last season very seriously.The brand has released its Spring 2016 campaign images and once again the white models are wearing cornrows.
The new ads feature white models shot amongst African villagers in the Maasai village in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. While the whole tribal-inspired collection could be seen as problematic in itself, Valentino boldly used the same hairstyle that got them in trouble before.
Last year, Valentino released its Pre-Fall 2015 campaign featuring an entirely white cast of models wearing the traditional African hairstyle. Of course, social media blasted the Italian brand for its attempt to "chic-ify" cornrows.
This incident came shortly The Los Angeles Times published a controversial piece calling cornrows one the hottest styles, after celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne were seen wearing them. But it failed to discuss any of the style's historical significance.
If that wasn't enough, Valentino should have definitely got the hint after the Italian label first came under fire for its African theme after its Spring 2016 show in Paris this past season. The presentation showcased a collection of tribal prints and safari patterns adorned with feathers and fringe that was modeled by mostly white women wearing the traditional hairstyles.
The stylist for the show wrote in his notes that, "It's a bit influenced by the '60s and '70s when girls used to travel and they would bring back inspiration from other places and cultures, which is kind of an eclectic way of styling yourself." Unfortunately, those who are borrowing from other cultures in this instance are failing to give those other cultures the appropriate credit and respect.
And although many might brush it off as just a hairstyle, we've too often seen the fashion industry erase the black community from the conversation while making money off of their history. Not to mention, that lack of diversity, whether on magazine covers or on the runway, has been an ongoing issue.