Lord, these fashion designers and their obsession with the safari motif.
Back in the ‘90s I remember Ralph Lauren’s lavish spreads in magazines for his safari collection, which included a perfume (what would that smell like? Wood fire, Hemingway, Baroness von Blixen, and a hint of Masaai cattle?), and leopard dinnerware, sold at Dillards.
Kors, like Lauren, isn’t known for taking fashion risks; he caters for a core glam-fame nouveux-riches audience, so neither his designs, nor his adverts are ever going to be cutting edge, though photographer Mario Testino is well-known for what goes as “risky” in fashion photography.
Kors’s spring 2012 collection, named “Afriluxe,” was “inspired by the ‘rustic modernism of the Lebombo Lodge,’ a reportedly $1,500 per night resort in South Africa, and featured dirty-looking earth tone caftans and cargo pants and cashmere sweaters with holes in them,” as Fashionista quips. That’s one of the images from the print campaign above. Here’s another from the look book.
It’s debatable if these images in the ad campaign are racist depictions of Africa and Africans, or just a repetition of the same old trope that reduces the African (and the woman) to props, and transforms everyone into commodities that advance the select consumer’s powerful subjectivity.
We’ve written about Kors’s runway show last fall. But frankly, we are bored by the “eternally popular and eternally misguided theme of ‘safari’” (fine words by the Guardian’s commentator, Hadly Freeman) in the fashion scene. It’s time to move on to coverage of more exciting African designers.
As a bonus, here’s Kors–during New York Fashion Week November last year–going on about “Africa,” mangles the name of the lodge where he “hides” in “the bush” and adds “if you’ve never been to Africa, here’s your chance to do so in a garment”: