Jeremy Scott is the latest fashion designer sparking controversy for a caption posted on Instagram.
Moschino’s creative director shared on Monday the fall 2018 advertising campaign of the Italian label, starring Kaia Gerber and Gigi Hadid. Lensed by Steven Meisel, the models appear sporting the collection’s Sixties, Jackie O-inspired looks — comprising Pop Art-colored dresses, pillbox hats and bobbed, flipped under hairs — with their skin painted in red and blue, respectively.
In keeping with the theme of the fashion show during Milan Fashion Week in February, the intention was to make the “It” models look like aliens and androids, but Scott’s caption flanking Hadid’s image sparked controversy.
“The only thing illegal about this alien is how good she looks!” read the caption, which was also shared on Twitter.
The social audience didn’t spare the designer, accusing the wording to reference “illegal aliens” entering in the U.S. and Scott of bad taste given the political moment.
“That caption is disgusting. You’re profiting on the suffering of people escaping persecution, poverty and death,” commented a user, while another one concisely wrote “Delete that caption. Right now.”
“I don’t know why you thought that caption was cute but reconsider for real,” added another Instagrammer, while on Twitter comments included “Please reconsider this phrasing” and “The caption is not edgy, it’s disgusting.”
Given the reaction, Scott edited his caption to explain his intentions, writing “ALIEN NATION ! @gigihadid STARS IN MY NEW @moschino CAMPAIGN SHOT BY STEVEN MEISEL & STYLED BY @carlynecerfdedudzeele HAIR & MAKE UP BY @guidopalau & @patmcgrathreal. WHAT IS AN “ALIEN?” THE CONCEPT OF MY AD CAMPAIGN IS TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE U.S. ADMINISTRATION’S HARSH STANCE TOWARD ‘ILLEGAL ALIENS.’ I PAINTED THE MODELS IN MY SHOW AND THIS CAMPAIGN AS A WAY TO OPEN A DISCUSSION ON WHAT EXACTLY AN ‘ALIEN’ IS — ARE THEY ORANGE, BLUE, YELLOW, GREEN? DOES THIS MATTER? THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, COWORKERS, RELATIVES AND PEOPLE WE LOVE.”
If the explanation calmed and convinced some users — including one commenting “I love the thought behind this campaign and I love it more because @gigihadid is part of it. Thank you sir,” — others continued to address the original caption and the designer’s lack of real effort to start a meaningful discussion on immigration.
A user wrote: “We won’t forget that, and changing the caption doesn’t change the fact this whole campaign just brings you profit. You want to start a discussion? Stop painting the same models blue and calling it revolutionary. Actually change the fashion game by hiring models that need to be represented. Get out in the street and do something worthwhile. Until then, you’re just another white man making money off the suffering of real people.”
Others joined the comment section concisely writing “we’re not forgetting your original caption,” or ironically adding: “All you did was paint thin white women different colors. Truly groundbreaking.”
Nevertheless, the discussion among Instagram factions didn’t stop both Gerber and Hadid from promoting the campaign. The former reposted the image she stars in, while the latter shared some behind-the-scenes contents via Instagram Stories on her account.
Not sure about other planets, but on this one, fashion — and promotion — must go on.