PHOTOS: The 11 Most Controversial Fashion Stories Of 2011
How will we remember 2011? Probably as The Year When All That Stuff Happened. There was no shortage of scandal and intrigue, public unrest and famous people dying. But there were also weddings, births, record-breaking auctions and amazing clothes presented on every catwalk. Which is why we’d like to remember this year’s best moments in fashion — as a reminder that when the rest of the world talks, the fashion world listens, responds and grows.
There is absolutely nothing more beloved by the fashion world than a little controversy — and 2011 served it up in droves. All year long the industry argued about models who were too young or too androgynous, and produced photos that were accused of glorifying gluttony — or not eating enough. Add in a few lawsuits, a social revolution, a healthy pinch of racism, and some commercialized gender stereotyping, and you’ve got a year that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
1.Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street may be protesting the wealth inequality of the United States, but that doesn't mean it didn't have its fair share of sartorial controversy. First
Kanye showed up (to show his support?) in a $355 Givenchy plaid shirt and $1000 Balmain jeans, then Jay-Z's Rocawear line sold a short-lived "Occupy All $treets" shirt (the proceeds from which all went back to Rocawear) before realizing why that wasn't exactly in line with Occupy's movement and pulled them offline. But in terms of conscious fashion commentary, nothing beats Vice's Occupy-inspired editorial, featuring four young and immensely businesslike looking guys wearing suits from Dior Homme and , taunting the occupation by eating caviar and holding signs that say “It’s Not My (De)Fault." Biting. Vivienne Westwood
Good Morning America called this child model "too sexy" for morning television -- and not without reason. At the tender age of 10, Blondeau has more work under her belt that models twice her age, having done countless shoots for magazines and catalogs. But it was her makeup-laden Vogue Paris spread (directed by none other than ) and the Tumblr dedicated to her likeness that got the media's attention -- and which eventually caused her parents to scale back her modeling. But in a few years, we'd be willing to bet Blondeau will be bigger than than any model of her age. Tom Ford
3.T-shirts Tell Little Girls They Can't Be Smart
There are lots of things that get us fired up, but nothing got us quite so heated as The Worst T-Shirts Of All Time. You see, this was the year t-shirts told girls they couldn't be smart. THIS SUCKED! We saw
JC Penny sell a tee that read "I'm Too Pretty To Do Homework So My Brother Has To Do It For Me", and Forever 21 declares girls "Allergic To Algebra". We even saw website copy get in on the girls-suck-at-math bit. Pretty much the antithesis of Girl Power, right?
4.Vogue Italia Drums Up Controversy With Everything They Do
Vogue Italia was synonymous with controversy this year. First they put out a very naked plus size issue, which some deemed revolutionary and others did not. Then they declared "slave earrings" a trend, and (and everyone else) was pissed. And then they ran a fairly nude Iman editorial of 19-year-old Karlie Kloss. The mag pulled one of the images from its website for fear it would encourage eating disorders. (Kloss doesn't have an eating disorder nor was the image Photoshopped.) And lastly, don't forget all of the things editor Franca Sozzani said about the Pope, , John Galliano Photoshop, advertising, bloggers, and . Terry Richardson
caused a huge gender debate when she painted her son Jenna Lyons Beckett's toenails for a J.Crew email blast -- one in which she wrote, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.” But the fun ended quickly -- a psychiatrist working for Fox News accused Lyons and the entire J.Crew corporate structure of "encouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth." Experts were quoted, research centers were consulted -- and while some said Lyons did her son a disservice by making him do something so distinctly girly, others failed to find what the big deal was. We resolved that Lyons was probably having harmless fun.
6.FHM and Barnes & Noble vs Andrej Pejic
made waves in the modeling industry with his androgynous looks all year long -- but he almost caused a tsunami when he was named 98th on Andrej Pejic FHM's list of 100 Hottest Women of the Year. The magazine, unsure of how to approach his gender, called him a "thing" and later apologized for it. We think his fluid gender appearance was much better represented on this Dossier magazine cover, which perfectly mixes his masculine and feminine qualities -- and forces whoever sees it to take a look at their own -- which is probably why Barnes & Noble censored it.
7.Benetton Photoshops World Leaders Making Out
Benetton ruffled quite a few feathers with its latest ad campaign. How can something called UNHATE piss so many people off? When it involves Photoshopped images of world leaders like Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas making out. The Vatican even threatened legal action over an ad featuring Pope Benedict kissing Imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, prompting Benetton to withdraw that particular image from the campaign. However, the accompanying UNHATE video and statue were decidedly less divisive.
8.Kenneth Cole Tweets About Egypt, Instantly Regrets It
Twitter faux pas may be a dime a dozen, but when a huge brand with thousands of followers messes up, the fashion world takes notice. In an attempt to capitalize on the Egyptian revolution,
Kenneth Cole tweeted: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC". Yikes. The @KennethCole account sent out an apology tweet shortly after, but it did little to calm the outrage.
9.Nivea's Racist 'Recivilize Yourself Ads
Our jaws hit the floor when German-owned beauty company
Nivea debuted its Recivilize Yourself ad -- aimed directly at Black men -- which featured a well-groomed guy shot putting a disembodied head with an afro and a full beard. People (us included) were offended for the suggestion that Black men were uncivilized to begin with, and needed to cut off what came out of their head naturally to get rid of their caveman tendencies. The company apologized, but not until after the ad got people riled up and talking about the sensitive issue of race. But sadly, in a year where 's name was Naomi Campbell used to sell a chocolate bar against her will and a "psychiatrist" tried to use science to prove that Black women aren't beautiful, this ad shouldn't have caught us so off guard.
10.Christian Louboubin vs. Yves Saint Laurent
Whose soles deserve to be red? That's the central question in this ongoing trademark infringement lawsuit, which started in April when
sued Christian Louboutin Yves Saint Laurent for making and selling shoes with red soles, claiming that the practice violated the trademark on red soles Louboutin registered in 2008. There have been legal volleys back and forth, but now the court (which thinks in fashion, no one should be able to trademark a color) wants Louboutin to prove that it deserves its trademark soles. If it can't, the ruling could have huge implications on how fashion uses color.
In February, famed couturier
was caught on tape telling a table of fellow patrons at Parisian cafe John Galliano La Perle, “I love Hitler” and “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f*cking gassed.” He also called them ugly. Dior fired him the next day. The designer checked into rehab, was found guilty of anti-Semitism in court (and fined €17,500), and has remained relatively under-the-radar since -- despite designing ' gypsy-inspired Kate Moss wedding dress. Dior has yet to replace him, though the latest reports put their money on Jil Sander's . Raf Simons