Remember When Karlie Kloss Wore a Native American Headdress in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show


The Victoria’s Secret extravaganza is the Super Bowl of the modeling industry, and the primary exposure mainstream society has to fashion shows, with millions of viewers tuning into the annual television special. But for an event that carries such significance, the VSFS has notoriously fallen short when it comes to cultural appropriation.

Who could forget in 2012 when Karlie Kloss donned a dramatic feathered headdress, fringed suede lingerie, and copious turquoise jewelry? The look sparked immediate outrage and was subsequently edited out from the television broadcast (the images were also deleted from Getty but fortunately live forever online). “We are sorry that the Native American headdress in our fashion show has upset individuals. The outfit will be removed from the broadcast,” wrote Victoria’s Secret reps. Kloss took to Twitter to make her own statement: “I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone. I support VS’s decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.”

One would assume VS learned its lesson at the time, but the latest runway show—which took place in Shanghai last week and will air on television this Tuesday, November 28th—is under fire again for its “Nomadic Adventure” themed segment, which repeats many of the same tribal tropes: colorful feathers, intricate seed bead jewelry, decorative dream catchers, and yes, even headdresses. None of this has escaped the Internet.

While we admire Victoria’s Secret for its continued dedication to pageantry and over-the-top costumes, it’s a well-established fact that dressing up like like a sexy Indian princess—or a sexy Chinese dragon (see: Elsa Hosk’s outfit last year)—has long been unacceptable for any “woke” human. You simply don’t go there, especially with so many eyeballs on the spectacle. And while we’re at it, in addition to nixing indigenous-inspired fashion for good, here’s hoping VS finally takes a more size-inclusive approach to model casting next year.


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