Leighton wore this to the premiere of Date Night exactly a decade ago today, about halfway into her Gossip Girl run. At the time, Jessica had a mixed reaction of both loving it, and feeling like it had been run through a shredder:
But she came down harder on the side of finding it kicky. Fug Nation was mixed: Some found the front appropriative of Native American dress; some thought it was much cuter than the back; some LOVED the back; some wanted to shred the whole THING and then steal her shoes. One person unfugged it by saying it would work if the fringe weren’t visible from the front, and one commenter — in response to Jessica having bailed on Gossip Girl forever mid-episode — opined, “Omg your such a sad act dissing gossip girl. It’s so amazing how can you possibly give up on it ? And jenny is one of the best characters in it you clearly know nothing if your wanting her killed off!” So, there were a LOT of feelings, is what I’m saying.
I think… on a surface level, Leighton looks great in this. It’s unique, and it’s lively, with a bit of unexpected edge; we’ve seen enough in the past ten years that I can applaud fun when I see it, though I agree with the poster who thinks seeing the fringe behind her legs is goofy. Also, it would tickle the bejeeses out of her knee pits. But, I did go back and looked it up, and of the melange of influences Giambattista Valli cited (in this, his fifth year of having a collection), “tribalism” and “ethnic art” are both mentioned. We have long grappled here in the comments, with wonderful civility, where the line is between homage and appropriation; when it’s okay to be influenced, and when it’s exploitative or in other ways disrespectful. To me, this feels like it’s trying to compliment the techniques that Valli was attracted to, in a way that doesn’t borrow rudely from them or stomp on them, but I’d love to hear whether you all agree. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have a grasp on it and like to understand where and why other people draw their lines. I’m keeping the poll pretty simplistic, but would love to hear your thoughts in the comments — about all of it.