Princess of Monaco Charlotte Casiraghi has become the latest public figure to spark anger for wearing a Native American costume.
Charlotte Casiraghi, 26, who chose the ensemble to participate in the Gucci-sponsored Paris Masters International Jumping Competition this weekend, was branded “ignorant” and “racist” by Tumblr users, many of whom appeared to be royal fans, judging by their usernames.
Royalwatcher wrote on the site: “I don’t know who told her it was cute to dress in traditonal [sic] clothing of Native American but gurlll, I’m judging you and not in the good way.”
Another, named Prin-ses-ka-ro-leen, added: “Dear Charlotte Casiraghi, American Indians still endure racism, ignorance and abuse on a regular basis simply because they are Native. You displayed terribly poor judgment in your choice of <<outfit>>.”
And Icaughtafallingdream wrote: “It’s not cute and it’s not funny. It’s just insulting and dumb.”
Given that the controversy follows a series of similar missteps from Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters and Gwen Stefani, the fashion website Styleite questioned whether there was some poor judgement on the part of Gucci, the sponsor of the tournament and the brand Charlotte Casiraghi represents.
“Other riders dressed up as Roman warriors, donkeys, angels, and Flintstones – you know, costumes – while Casiraghi opted for an outfit that has been publicly denounced as racist time and time again,” reporter Hilary George-Parkin wrote.
“As the royal is the face of an international luxury brand (however reluctantly), one would think there would be more oversight [sic] on Gucci’s part.”
The costume certainly adds fuel to an already heated debate about representation of Native Americans in popular culture.
Sasha Houston Brown, a member of the Santee Sioux tribe of Nebraska and a vocal champion of Native American culture, wrote last month on the Racialicious blog: “Despite what dominant society and mainstream media say, Native culture is a vibrant and living culture.
“We are not a relic of the past, a theme or a trend; we are not a style or costume; we are not mascots, noble savages or romantic fictional entities. We are human beings and, despite all odds, we have survived.
“As sovereign Nations, Indigenous peoples have the right to speak for ourselves and not have dominant Euro-American society project and profit off of an artificial and socially constructed image of <<Indian>> identity.”
The commentary on Charlotte Casiraghi’s costume was not all negative, however. Several Tumblr users spoke out in her defence.
Josephg wrote on the thread: “i think she look gorgeous :)”
Intomyfoyer went further, pointing out that it was Gucci’s choice of costume, and blame should not be cast on Charlotte Casiraghi.
“It doesn’t mean she has no idea about America’s past, she’s not dumb…” they wrote.
“This whole thing will be offensive only if YOU make it offensive, no one had the intentions of offending anyone in any way.”