Ranking the Most Controversial Fashion Week Moments Over the Years

Sometimes when models walk the runway, hijinks ensue.

By Corinne Heller Sep 28, 2019 11:00 AMTags
Watch: New York Fashion Week...or Fashion Weak? - What the Fashion (S2, Ep21)

Sometimes when models walk the runway, hijinks ensue.

Some designers take it upon themselves to showcase what has for decades been considered unconventional in the fashion world; different body types, for example. Others use the opportunity to not only showcase chic styles, but to make a political or social statement.

But sometimes models go rogue and do it themselves. Just last week, during Gucci's show at Milan Fashion Week, models were propelled along a conveyor belt in fashionable straightjackets and one of them, Ayesha Tan Jones, staged a one-woman protest. She held up her hands, which bore the words, "Mental health is not fashion."

"As an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health, as well as family members and loved ones who have been affected by depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment," she said on Instagram.

"It is in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of strait jackets and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat," she added. "Presenting these struggles as props for selling clothes in today's capitalist climate is vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people around the world affected by these issues."

Gucci confirmed the protest was unplanned and said in a statement, "Uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straitjackets, were included in the #GucciSS20 fashion show as the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it. These clothes were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold."


What the Fashion

See the top 10 most controversial Fashion Week moments over the years, ranked:


...PLATFORM Crocs, the Balenciaga spring/summer 2018 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. Why. Why?

9. Any PETA Protest

PETA activists have protested fashion shows scores of times over the past few decades at many Fashion Weeks. They even rushed the stage as supermodel Gisele Bündchen walked the 2002 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show runway.

8. All-Inclusive

Rihanna made sure her first Savage X Fenty New York Fashion Week show in 2018 included models with different body types. Different body types!

7. More Inclusivity

Chromat's Becca McCharen-Tran showcased models of different experiences, sizes, ethnicities, ages, genders and with disabilities on her runway during New York Fashion Week in 2018.

6. Oh Baby

At Rihanna's Savage x Fenty show in New York in 2018, model Slick Woods walked the runway pregnant and actually went into labor, later welcoming a baby boy.

5. The Power of Madonna

The singer walked the runway topless at a Jean Paul Gaultier show in 1992.

4. Speaking of Nude

In 2016, Kenzo turned its Paris Fashion Week show into an art installation with nude painted models posing as statues. Of different body types.

3. Political Protests...

Sometimes they sneak onto the runway. Jeremy Scott incorporated this message into his New York Fashion Week show n 2019.

2. "Mental Health Is Not Fashion"

In September 2019, during Gucci's show at Milan Fashion Week, models were propelled along a conveyor belt catwalk in fashionable straightjackets. One of them, Ayesha Tan Jones, staged a one-woman protest, holding up her hands, which bore the words, "Mental health is not fashion."

Gun Violence Protest

In September 2019, during New York Fashion Week, fashion brand Bstroy drew controversy over a runway show showcasing a line of sweatshirts designed to make a statement on gun violence and school shootings.

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