Giorgio Armani’s Latest Hair Look: Is it Cultural Appropriation?

In recent years, hair and makeup runway looks have sparked many discussions about cultural appropriation. Now, after a wrapped hair look resembling a “doobie” style popular amongst women of color was spotted from the Giorgio Armani Privé Fall 2017 Couture show, some are taking to social media to speak out.

The hairstyle of a model outside Armani Prive during Paris Fashion Week has sparked controversy. (Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

Armani’s show debuted in Paris on Tuesday, and New York Times Fashion shared an Instagram photo of a model, post-show, on her phone. Visible in the photo was her black nail polish and her hair, sleekly wrapped around her scalp; a caption read, “Hair details at Giorgio Armani Privé.” Not too long after the post was shared, people spoke out and left comments regarding how the hairstyle was culturally appropriating one that has been traditionally worn by women of color.


“I wear this hair style every night. It’s called a wrap,” shared one person. “I do not have an issue with other races wearing or doing anything they want with hair or clothes, but stop pretending like it’s new and innovative. I walk the streets with my hair wrapped I am considered less fortunate or for lack of better word ghetto.”

Another suggested, “You should probably take this down. This is a CLEAR example of cultural appropriation. Black and brown women have been wrapping their hair just like this for DECADES. And now when white women do it it’s a fashion trend. I know you might not have known. But now that you do… please take this down. Thanks, the hundreds of black and brown women who are offended by this out of touch post.”

The “wrap” that commenters were referring to is also known as a “doobie,” which originated in the Caribbean. It is a (usually) pinned up beehive-like style used to maintain the bounce and volume of a curly, blown-out look on textured hair. In many modern-day Dominican hair salons, a person’s hair is washed, conditioned, and rolled up with hard rollers before they are placed under a hot dryer for about 30 to 60 minutes to allow hair to set. Once the hair dries it is freed of curlers, and, depending on personal preference, sometimes blown straight with a round brush. Finally, hair gets wrapped around the scalp and secured with bobby pins to maintain volume and bounce.

Furthering the controversy is the question of whether or not this was truly the “hair look” for Armani’s latest showing. On the runway, the style wasn’t actually shown at all. Instead, each model’s head was covered with an embroidered headpiece that included a netted black veil, complementing many of the details showcased in the new collection. It appears as if the hair was styled in the wrap to keep the hair as flat as possible, and also to have it hidden, rather than shown, as a part of the overall look.


Yahoo Beauty has not yet received a response from the hair team in Paris regarding whether or not the doobie wrap look was intentional. However, the brand did share the inspiration behind the collection in a statement: “Sensations transform to become a source of inspiration cloaked in a halo of mystery. Ribbons of black patent leather completely encrusted with crystals, outlining floral contours; the magic of transparencies and veils; and the precious embroidery of haute couture. All this evokes the image of a mysterious and sensual woman.” 

Giorgio Armani’s international makeup artist Linda Cantello also shared in a statement: “Mr. Armani wanted a shadowy mysterious eye with no hard lines, so using a mix of colors from the Armani Holiday Palette, I created a subtle wash of multi-colored shadow to give an enigmatic intriguing eye.”


Meanwhile, people remain on edge with designers, as there have been one too many times when hairstyles have been sourced from cultures without proper credit or acknowledgment given to their origins. As one person noted under the earlier mentioned New York Times post, “I hope the Dominican salons get their credit for this one.”

One of the biggest controversial firestorms of this nature happened at the Marc Jacobs Spring 2017 show, where big name models such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner paraded down the runway with updos full of colorfully dyed faux dreadlocks. People were outraged at the lack of credit given to the originators of the style.

Hopefully, this latest example will serve as a lesson for other designers to steer clear of similar mistakes — easily avoidable, but hard to bounce back from.

Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyle and @YahooBeauty.


By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes