Fashion's Biggest Scandals


Written by Olivia Patt
18 Sunday 18th September 2011

Himmler and SS soldiers in their spiffy Boss uniforms

In a similarly anti-Semitic vein, fashionistas were shocked when it was revealed in 1997 that Hugo Boss, having joined the Nazi party in 1931, had manufactured the sinister black uniforms of the SS leading up to and during the Second World War, as well as the uniforms of the Hitler Youth, creating a nation of tiny, well-dressed racists. Long dead in 1997, Boss could not offer any comment, but when asked his son Siegfried told the media, “Of course my father belonged to the Nazi party. But who didn’t belong back then?” Good point Sig; although many of them weren’t making snazzy uniforms in sweatshops powered by prisoners of war. However, due to the fact that the main man himself was no longer around in '97, and the people running the house of Boss seemed genuinely shocked by the news themselves, the label didn’t suffer too much, and many people are still willing to splash out up to £900 on one of his suits.

Cocaine Free Kate

Unsurprisingly, in a world of late nights, partying, and size zero women, fashion and drugs are almost synonymous. As aware as the world may be, however, it doesn’t mean you want your sweaty face splashed over the front page of The Daily Mirror, snorting frankly massive lines of cocaine in a recording studio. Poor Kate Moss. After the photos were revealed in 2005, she earned the less-than-witty nickname “Cocaine Kate” and was dropped as the face of Burberry, Chanel and H&M. However, as arguably the most popular model of all the time, there was no lack of support from inside and outside the fashion world, and Kate managed to claw her way back, and six years on, is more successful than ever. The model has done campaigns with Balmain, Agent Provocateur, Longchamp, YSL, Dior, designed six sell out Topshop collections and made her first catwalk appearance for years this LFW for Louis Vuitton. She also broke up with Pete Doherty, which we consider her biggest achievement to date.

Those aren't blood diamonds. Honest.

Another British beauty, Naomi Campbell, has had her fair share of tabloid headlines.  Notoriously angry, Naomi has been accused of numerous accounts of assault and abuse, including hitting her housekeeper in the head with a Blackberry and spitting at a police officer in Heathrow Airport in 2008. Most recently however, in 2010, Naomi found herself embroiled in perhaps her most bizarre scandal; having accepted blood diamonds from the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Campbell later claimed while testifying in court that she had no idea they were dirty diamonds, while Mia Farrow gave contradictory evidence, stating that Campbell “boasted” about the diamonds. It doesn’t seem to have harmed her career however, and we’re sure that Naomi will be hitting and spitting for years to come. You can take the girl out of Streatham, but you can’t take Streatham out of the girl.

Versace's loud legacy

One of the sadder scandals of recent years was the murder of designer Gianni Versace. Shot on the doorstep of his Miami house on July 15, 1997, he was the fifth victim of Andrew Cunanan, who committed suicide just over a week later. While the in your face, gaudy designs of the house of Versace weren’t to everyone’s taste, Gianni was acknowledged as an innovative and important designer. Many people believe he changed the way fashion works today, by surrounding himself with superstars, such as close friend Madonna, and mixing rock n roll, fame and fashion. Vogue also claims that he “created” the supermodel, by paying the first supers extremely high sums to appear in his campaigns; including Naomi Campbell. Thanks for that, Versace.

There are many more we could mention, like Gucci’s tax evasion, photographer Terry Richardson’s questionable behaviour towards his models, or Tommy Hilfiger’ being wrongly accused of racism after appearing on The Oprah Show. The list is endless. As Mark Twain famously said, “Clothes make the man.” We’re a little more worried about the man who made our clothes.

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