Today, Doja Cat, a singer, attended the Haute Couture Week dressed in red paint, a red dress and 30,000 sequins.
“The singer’s arrival at the Petit Palais in Paris marked a dramatic start to Schiaparelli’s Couture Spring-Summer 2023 show, the opening event of the biannual Haute Couture Week in Paris. Dubbed “Inferno Couture,” the label’s latest collection was inspired by Dante’s “Inferno” and the nine circles of hell, according to Roseberry’s show notes.”
I have many feelings about Doja Cat’s outfit for the Schiaparelli fashion show – mostly that it mimics people with skin conditions and facial differences. People like me.
“Don’t be so offended, Carly”, I’m sure you’ll think and even say. “It’s just a costume.”
I know it’s fancy dress. It is a work of art. It’s meant to be fun and avant garde. But representation matters. I feel this is akin to scary face/cripping up at Halloween.
So many people who do have red, scaly skin (like this emulates, intentionally or not) are mocked, stared at, discriminated against. ridiculed, feared. refused service, excluded, erased. Hell, we are rarely invited to fashion events like these, nor do we regularly appear in fashion magazines (or are written about respectfully in the media).
And yet, this is fashion. A costume she can take off at the end of the event.
Those of us with skin conditions and facial differences don’t have the luxury. We don’t have the privilege of peeling off a costume and avoiding discrimination the next day. Many people with skin conditions and facial differences feel shame and embarrassment, and desperately want to change our appearances – to look less like this. Many won’t go out in public or appear in photographs.
I hope, following this event, Doja Cat advocates for people with skin conditions – specifically those of us with red scaly skin. And I hope the journalists and social media commentators are considering how having a laugh at Doja Cat’s costume hurts people who have facial differences and skin conditions.
“Doja Cat wowed onlookers on Monday as she arrived at Schiaparelli’s latest runway show in a dramatic head-to-toe look adorned with red body paint and 30,000 Swarovski crystals.
The eye-catching outfit, which was custom-designed by the fashion house’s creative director Daniel Roseberry, was brought to life by makeup artist Pat McGrath, whose team spent almost five hours completing the look.”
More on Halloween costumes that mimic facial difference (also apples to year round costumes) from Face Equality International:
Images: 1. Doja Cat – a woman covered in 30,000 red crystals – over her face and body. She wears a red dress. 2. A collage of two photos side by side. On the left is Carly Findlay, who has red skin due to a skin condition called ichthyosis. On the right is Doja Cat, in the red crystals, red paint and red dress.