Chanel Shows Native American Headdresses for Pre-Fall: Why Does This Keep Happening?

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown December 11th, 2013 Last Updated on: December 11th, 2013

Chanel staged a pre-fall show in Dallas on Tuesday night and the collection had a western theme. Cowboy boots and hats, turquoise jewelry, blanket coats and fringes galore playing a huge part in the show. Another pervasive theme was Navajo prints and American Indian-inspired accessories, which have proven to be a very touchy subject in the fashion industry in recent years.

The final two looks of the show featured white, feathered headdresses — the very same style that caused a major controversy at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2012. We know that Lagerfeld was inspired by the American West for this collection, and yes, Native Americans played a huge role there both historically and Chanel_093_1366.450x675-300x450today, with over 20 different tribes making Texas their home. But, as a group that faced so much hardship (from slavery to slaughter), you’d think that designers and tastemakers would be a bit more sensitive to their comments and their desire to stop seeing their cultural symbols used as a passing trend.

Read more from Alyssa Vingan about the Chanel show on the Fashionista blog.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Chanel Shows Native American Headdresses for Pre-Fall: Why Does This Keep Happening?

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Mary K

People will always find something to complain about, this week it’s these clothes or one of the sports teams being called the Red Skins. I means really, it’s time to stop being so butt hurt about everything native american and stop complaining about everything you see. It’s just not that big of a deal.


I don’t get why people get so upset. Why don’t you look at it as the fashion world thinking that the Native American look is so beautiful that even Chanel used it for their show. I’m Irish. Does that mean I should be insulted if people wear green or have a shamrock pin on? Why does it all have to be so negative? Maybe it brings attention to the Native Americans in a positive way and a new generation will learn about the culture. I love going to Pow Wows and watching the dancing and seeing the gorgeous regalia. Does that mean I’m insulting anyone? The past is the past. There was a lot of ignorance. BTW Irish were treated very badly too. We got over it… It’s time to forget the past and celebrate today.

Mary K

Too true. People just need something to complain about this this it it for this week.

Jimmy Bayless

Why?. Because we “Indigenous” people of North America do Not Raise enough Hell over thee Corporate Greed that is Reaped from our Heritage!…

Selena Akerley

If a white person wore the African attire of royalty there would be an outcry worldwide. There is NO respect for our customs.

Bear Dancer

There is always a white person claiming to be “part Indian” or light skinned that say they are fine with things like this. They are just as bad as the companies that are stealing our cultures and misrepresenting what we truly are. Just admit that you’re white and that you have no idea why this is wrong.


I am light skinned Native American, I like this, Chanel.

Dawn Conquest

It is disrespectful to use ceramonial clothing, in afashion show,iI suggest you look into the true meaning of such items ,as you are insulting many people

Dawn Conquest

I think it is disrespectfull to be using native ceremonial clothing for a fashion show ,what you need to do is show some respect for other peoples belief systems,and look into why it is out of order,


I grew up in Texas. Native Americans are important only in the names they left behind. There aren’t any reservations in Texas. Except for the newly recognized Kickapoo Reservations so they wouldn’t have to live on the side of
IH-35. The closest IHS facility is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most reservations have their own Indian health services hospital and or clinic. So trying to rationalize this by saying that Indians were in Texas is very insulting because I am not understanding where there are “20 groups that make their home in Texas.” Texas doesn’t have any reservations!!! Everywhere in the state is Latino culture. Native American culture has been ethnically cleansed. Coco Chanel house is in France and their mission is to sell this stuff to white people and make a lot of money. I would have thought the French would have been more clever than this.

Jane Sisson

To the person that stated there are no reservations with the exception of the Kickapoo you are incorrect . In Livingston Texas is where the Alabama tribe merged and was adsorbed into the Couchatta tribe making the Alabama Couchatta Reservation located in Livingston Texas . There are alot of tribes that moved to Texas and have formed intertribal cultural groups such s The Four Winds out of the Killeen Texas area or Tribal American Network out of the Belton /Temple area . I live in New Mexico and came from the Temple Texas area and there are more PowWows and Native cultural events in Texas than I have seen in the Farmington Nm area and Farmington IS the reservation area of the Navajo area as well as Jicarilla Apache , Southern Ute and Ute tribes . I have found that a-lot of the Native culture has been dissolved due to not only alcoholism but the lack of role models in the Native community . Instead of teaching the youth and keeping tribal laws in tact there is more of an interest in putting up a new casino which btw I do not see ANY tribes with the exception of the Ute in Ignacio CO benefiting from . In Texas the tribes are consistent with Native pride and sharing the culture and here in NM there is a lot of racism passed on from generation to generation within the tribes so much time and effort is put into blaming whites that the culture has been forgotten the pride of being Native is all but forgotten and the only time you see people rise up is when they think someone has slighted them . In my opinion you need to have pride every day if you want to protect the culture the oral traditions and the history of the Tribe do it EVERY DAY don’t wait until someone creates clothing or makes a poster or uses a Tribal name in a marketing campaign to then decide to speak up and stand up for your culture , then you do it just for show . DO IT EVERY DAY , teach your children their past and guide them to a future that is full of pride and accomplishment do not pass on the grudges and false pride allowing them to tag Native lands with spraypaint and destroy Native landmarks then turn around and throw your arms up and get offended over ignorance of a designer . I live it EVERY DAY here on the res . Teach pride Teach tolerance Teach culture do not teach your children to react teach them to act , responsibly and don’t state inaccurate statements about where Natives live and where they don’t if you don’t know


Isn’t Isleta still in Texas? Just outside El Paso??? Think people should also learn some history/and maybe some mapping classes before speaking.Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas,Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas,Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

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