Rick Owens declared his spring 2016 show to be a celebration of "love, humanity, sensibility, femininity, and womanhood." How does one portray this your ask? Well, ever the showman, Rick Owens employed a troupe of dancers to carry models down the runway as human accessories.
In 2015, Karl Lagerfeld sent a spate of models including Cara Delevingne down the runway holding feminist signs.
Jean Paul Gaultier was criticised by the family of Amy Winehouse for sending lookalikes of the late singer down the runway at his S/S 2012 haute couture show. Amy's father, Mitch Winehouse, told The Sun he found the show in "very poor taste" and that his family was "insulted" by the production. But it seems the family may have missed the point of Gaultier's show, with the designer explaining that his show was a "tribute" to the fallen singer. "It is very joyous," Gaultier told the New York Times. "To me the scandal is that no fashion magazine did an Amy Winehouse cover.”
Victoria’s Secret came under fire in 2012 for sending supermodel Karlie Kloss down the runway in a Native American headpiece, with viewers calling the move “a display of ignorance toward tribal culture and history”. In response, Victoria’s Secret hastily said the outfit would be cut from the television broadcast and any marketing material.
A dress made entirely out of cow nipples sparked outrage at Paris Fashion Week in 2013, with UK Labour MP Kerry McCarthy describing the dress as "absolutely grotesque”. In response, designer Rachel Freire said she was simply recycling. “I create fashion using material that would otherwise end up on the scrap heap,” explained Freire. “The people criticising are clearly clueless about the amount of leather wasted on a daily basis."
Dolce & Gabbana were criticised for showing Blackamoor-inspired earrings at their S/S 2013 show. “There wasn't a single black model in Dolce & Gabbana's show," said The Guardian UK fashion EA Sarah Ilyas, "and it's hard not to be appalled by the transparent exoticism in sending the only black faces down the runway in the form of earrings."
When former spy agent Anna Chapman made her catwalk debut at Russian Fashion Week, she caused quite a stir when she dropped a loaded gun onto the runway. Although the stunt was part of the show, it alarmed KGB veterans in the audience, with one telling the local media that Chapman's glorification of the weapon was unacceptable. "For a special agent, a gun is part of your profession,” said the source. “It is sacred and such a careless attitude to it is simply unacceptable.”
It might have been ‘Say no to smoking day’ elsewhere in the world, but not according to Kate Moss, who appeared on the YSL A/W 2011 runway with a cigarette in hand. While the crowd at the show "loved the stunt", others weren't impressed with Moss's behaviour given that she ignored French law, which bans smoking in public buildings.
Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were the source of a social media storm after appearing on the Olympics catwalk, with some viewers reportedly outraged that the models were appointed to represent England. Guardian journalist Charles Arthur wrote, "Kate Moss! Who represents the Olympic ideals of not doing drugs, or smoking, and achieving lots. Work with me here." Naomi Campbell also came under fire, with novelist Jojo Mayes writing, "Naomi Campbell: gold medal in phone throwing."
Fashion label Kaviar Gauche raised eyebrows at Berlin Fashion Week when it sent an extremely revealing wedding "outfit" on to the runway. A stunned audience watched as a bride shrouded in a head-to-toe veil strutted down the catwalk wearing only a white bra and strategically placed g-string. “Judging by its risqué nature, this is one wedding outfit bound for a beach ceremony - or more likely, confined to the privacy of the wedding night," commented the Daily Mail.