While slightly more subtle than their Vogue Italia compatriot's "slave earrings" from 2011, the "Blackamoor" motifs that rolled down the runway at Dolce and Gabbana's Spring 2013 show on Sunday are sparking controversy and accusations of racism.
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Art historically, "Blackamoor" describes sculptures or decorative motifs of dark skinned African servants, usually wearing a turban. Although nowadays the images are generally considered to be offensive evocations of slavery (akin to lawn jockeys or "Mammy" dolls), the super-luxe brand splashed them across the front of their dresses-which were made of burlap, no less. Ebony faces topped with head wraps also dangled from the models' earlobes.
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The blog Madame Noir points out that what makes the images particularly jarring is that all those earlobes were white-D&G didn't feature one woman of color on its catwalk:
"For whatever reason, a black woman wasn't fit to be in the show; but she could certainly be used-exploited- as a form of decoration on a white model, in a white show, for a white company."