Naked Oprah dress sparks controversy
Yet another designer has plastered faces onto dresses for spring. Prada featured massive portraits on just about everything in its latest collection. And Peggy Noland, an LA-based designer who has previously collaborated with Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, has emblazoned floor-length dresses with one of the most recognisable mugs in the world.
Noland takes Oprah's head and superimposes it onto black female bodies in various sizes - from super skinny to more to love.
The designs are not suitable for work, but you can check them out here (warning: this link does contain nudity).
The range of dresses and T-shirts were created as a tongue-in-cheek response to that worn-out red carpet question, "Who are you wearing?" And though we get that the designer intended for wearers to answer "Oprah!" and for everyone to have a good old chuckle about it, there's something incredibly irksome about what she's doing here.
The designer has essentially ripped off Oprah's name and image for profit, with no regard to the celebrity's view on the matter. Noland maintains that they are pieces of "art", but that hasn't stopped her from selling them online and even offering tips on how to wear them.
Though Noland's personal motto is "white trash meets high class", we're struggling to see the class here. The designs are tacky and unwearable at best and offensive, tone-deaf and ignorant at worst.
As the artist told The Cut, "Oprah's most effective qualities is that she's a placeholder, she's a stand-in for you with her foibles and her failures - especially with her public weight issues."
Can the artist not see the big problem with this? Noland treats Oprah as a "placeholder" - a blank canvas onto which other women can project their issues and insecurities.
As Caroyln Edgar points out in Salon, "Oprah is no longer a person with her own (carefully crafted) public image. She's no longer a person whose humanity we have to recognize, let alone respect."
The race and gender issues inherent in Noland's statement-making garments are impossible to ignore - especially given the long history of black women's bodies being exploited, ridiculed and displayed for profit.
Surely there are better ways to start a conversation about body image than allowing women to literally enshroud themselves in generic images of some other woman's body ...
Noland, your people can expect to hear from Oprah's people very soon.
- Daily Life