This All-White Runway Ended With A “Formation” Finale, & People Are Pissed

Photo: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images.
Yet another example of whitewashed runway casting just transpired Down Under. Yesterday at Australia Fashion Week in Sydney, Misha Collection, an Oz-based label, caused a stir with a model selection entirely devoid of diversity. But the dearth of women of color wasn’t the show’s only unsettling aspect. That the entirely white troupe of models walked to Beyoncé’s “Formation” as the finale is proving problematic, as well. The juxtaposition of the homogenous casting and the song’s explicit message of celebrating powerful Black women is rankling people, as Yahoo Style pointed out. The show also garnered some — but not nearly as much — attention for featuring Bella Hadid, placed squarely in the center of that “Formation” finale (she was purportedly paid $400K to model in that sole show, but that’s another story). The backlash to Misha Collection’s casting and finale song contrast took hold when Hadid’s agency, IMG Models, posted a video on Instagram on Monday. “How you gonna use black songs but not black people smh,” wrote one user, while another praised the collection while criticizing the casting, writing: “Love their stuff but where is the variation in skin colors for their models.” We’ve reached out to Misha Collection for comment, and will update when we hear back.

@BellaHadid closes the @MishaCollection show ? #IMGStars #MBFWA #IMGModelsAustralia

A video posted by IMGmodels (@imgmodels) on

Blatantly homogenous castings have (finally) become an important topic in the fashion industry. And while the use of a Black-is-beautiful anthem with an all-Caucasian model posse is somewhat novel (not in a good way), the lack of diversity, unfortunately, isn’t. To wit: There were 10 shows throughout the month-long roster of fall 2016 shows that didn’t involve a single model of color — notably Demna Gvesalia’s duo of entirely white castings at Vetements and Balenciaga. Those exceedingly white castings aside, wider racial representation in a fashion show context is very gradually on the upswing, according The Fashion Spot’s biannual runway diversity reports, which look at shows in the four major Fashion Weeks. While fall 2015’s collections showed with 20.75% models of color, the next season included 22.4%, followed, most recently, by fall 2016’s 24.75% non-Caucasian models. How many more cringe-y examples of conspicuously white runways have to go down before we can reasonably expect to see diversity in any and every show?

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