You would expect Lady Gaga to wear the most controversial outfits at any awards show. But at yesterday’s American Music Awards, the costume that got everyone talking, and not in a positive way, was Katy Perry’s geisha-inspired outfit. But her stylist explains that it’s more about expressing their love for the Japanese culture than anything about gender and cultural stereotypes.
Most of the criticism comes from the gender angle, with the Western world’s view that the geisha culture is something that speaks of the servitude of women. But Perry’s stylist, Johnny Wujek, who is also the creative director of America’s Next Top Model, says that it was because both he and the singer love Japan. “Just walking around [in Japan], you feel something. We wanted to try and encompass that in the performance somehow, almost a tribute,” he says. In fact, it took them a lot of time and effort to prepare that costume and they even had a consultant from Kimono no Kobeya, a kimono store in Pasadena, California. The woman made sure that everything looked authentic, from the backup dancers’ original geisha dresses to Katy’s more modern take on the traditional outfit
But the critics cannot look beyond just the fashion sense of their choice. “…this was a full-barreled technicolor assault on a quarter-millennium-old set of traditions that would’ve given any self-respecting denizen of Kyoto’s Gion District a massive fatal heart attack,” said Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal. Katy does have her fans and one of them was the aforementioned Lady Gaga. The pop singer chose to see it as women empowerment, rather than going backwards to a time when the geishas were just living to serve and entertain. She also said people are generally too sensitive and should just let Katy be Katy, but added she wasn’t the person to ask about these sorts of things.
[via E Online]
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