Added: Octavian Grosso - Date: 20.07.2021 10:33 - Views: 17892 - Clicks: 7047
M ichelle Obama must be used to causing a stir with her frocks. But she could not have known when she chose a floorlength gown in a lovely shade of — well, let's just pass over that for the hot or not nude — to meet the Indian prime minister last November, the furore that would follow. The dress was described by its deer Naeem Khan as a "sterling-silver sequin, abstract floral, nude strapless gown". Associated Press said it was "flesh-coloured", the colour of Obama's own flesh notwithstanding.
Now AP appears to have revised that description to "champagne", an act that has triggered debate about fashion's use of the word "nude". For whom? To anyone who re fashion magazines these terms will be familiar. InStyle magazine goes as far as to say that nude is the new black: just about the surest way to exclude black-skinned women from adopting the trend, since it's apparently not acceptable to wear black as black, nor black as nude.
Editor Lorraine Candy says there is nothing wrong with this. It's white nude, not black nude, but it's not the colour of my skin either. I'm see-through white. With someone as powerful and amazing as Michelle Obama, I think it's the wrong thing to get worked up about. The problem is that the language of fashion has form in this regard.
Beading, fringing and animal prints are routinely offered as evidence of a "tribal" trend though that is a word Candy says she crosses out whenever she sees it. Black models, meanwhile, are few and far between on catwalks and covers. And even when fashion editors find synonyms for "nude" they are conventionally honey, rose, blush, ivory, words commonly used to make an English rose complexion seem aspirational.
There is nothing new in all this, of course: remember American Tan tights, and their promise to bring hot or not nude healthy glow to all those "American" read pale legs? But it isn't just the description of a colour that is potentially offensive here, it's also the way the look is styled, the conception of the entire trend.
On the cover of May's InStyle, actor Gemma Arterton appears in a frock so close to her skin tone that it seems to seep into her chest and shoulders, the two adjacent pallors of flesh and dress somehow bleaching each other out, lightening further the overall look. On the catwalks in Paris, Milan, London and New York, these pale shades were presented almost uniformly on pale skins. It's a look that's all about white skin. But on her skin 'nude' is revealed as a colour rather than neutral.
Indeed it seems misplaced to think of these shades as neutral, when the debate makes clear that this trend is anything but. Pantone, the world-renowned authority on colour, may have a "nude" shade, thereby conferring a certain official acceptability on all those magazines' usage of the term. But then another N-word was once commonly used in clothes catalogues to describe a chocolatey shade of brown.
Will "nude" one day strike us as equally horrifying? Nude: is the hot fashion colour racist? Nude is the fashion colour du jour. But it's only nude if you're white, not if you're black. Photograph: Composite. Paula Cocozza. Topics Fashion Race Michelle Obama features. Reuse this content.Hot or not nude
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Nude: is the hot fashion colour racist?