anger after bella hadid leads runway of all white models to beyoncé’s 'formation'

The super’s star appearance on an Australian runway has turned to controversy over the use of the black pride anthem on a whitewashed catwalk.

by Charlotte Gush and Cheryl Santos
17 May 2016, 4:40pm

Bella Hadid's star appearance during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia has turned to controversy after the social super lead a troupe of all white models down the runway to Beyoncé's black pride anthem Formation.

The LA native was flown to Australia for an exclusive appearance on the Mischa Gold catwalk. When her agency IMG posted a video to Instagram, fans expressed concern about the mismatch between the casting of the show and the soundtrack chosen.

"How you gonna use black songs but not black people smh," one person commented on the video, with another adding, "vomit white people belittling the meaning behind formation." "This song is an ode to powerful black women around the world, so where are the black women???" one asked. 

Protests soon spread from Instagram, erupting pretty much anywhere the image of Bella standing at the apex of a group of all white models was shown. "Love the collection, but music?," a follower wrote on the brand's Facebook page, continuing: "Formation played & no black models? That's okay my family went through 300 years slavery for nothing for the current generation to appropriate our history as a people. So disappointed. #educationdontdiscriminate."

The incident adds insult to the continued injury of whitewashed runways around the world. Although catwalk diversity is ever so slowly increasing, the spring/summer 16 shows in New York were still 71.6% white according to the Fashion Spot's seasonal reporting; the corresponding ad campaigns presented 78.2% white models. There is clearly still a very, very long way to go.

READ: Why model diversity at fashion week is more complex than ever


Text Charlotte Gush
Photography via Mischa Collection Facebook

Bella Hadid
mischa gold
sydney fashion week