Katy Perry wasn't trying to offend anyone with her geisha look.
After the 29-year-old's performance Sunday at the American Music Awards was branded culturally insensitive, her stylist has come to her defense to explain the inspiration.
"Katy and I both love Japan," Johnny Wujek, who is also creative director of "America's Next Top Model," told E! News. "The people are so kind, there's so much there visually. Just walking around, you feel something. We wanted to try and encompass that in the performance somehow, almost a tribute."
While he didn't address the backlash — or hint as to when Perry herself may speak out about it — he did say it wasn't an idea that popped up overnight. His teamed worked around the clock for four days leading up to the show to perfect Perry's look for her "Unconditionally" performance.
"We had the most amazing woman helping us from this store in Pasadena, [California], Kimono no Kobeya," he told us. "She oversaw everything we were doing and made sure that it maintained all of its authenticity. … All of the dancers wore original geishas [dresses], and Katy's version was a little more modern. For her we took a stunning real kimono and reworked it more into a gown."
And the bad press hasn't seemed to cause them to pause and reevaluate Perry's looks because they're already full speed ahead on her outfit for the Grammys in January. While he wouldn't reveal what she'll be wearing, he promised, "We like to be inventive and more in the moment basing our looks off of recent events, experiences, or current inspirations."
[Related: The 10 Most Memorable Moments of the AMAs]
Perry's AMAs performance came under fire for encouraging the racist fetishization of Asian women as submissive and powerless.
"Katy Perry's AMA performance is offensive," Shivana Jorawar, who is the Reproductive Justice Program Director at National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, said to Yahoo Music. "It is yet another example of Orientalist, exoticizing stereotypes about Asian women being reinforced."
However, not everyone agreed. Aki Aleong, the president of Media Action for Asian Americans, said Perry’s performance "could renew appreciation" for Japanese culture — similar to the way the Beatles brought attention to Indian culture by traveling there to study transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
"We did not find Katy Perry's performance at Sunday night’s American Music Awards to be offensive," Aleong told The Wrap. "It's not racist for a non-Asian person to wear Asian clothes. If it was so, the Beatles would’ve been criticized for wearing Nehru jackets back in the '60s. By going to India, learning meditation, dressing in Indian clothes, and George Harrison taking a fondness to the sitar, the Beatles brought attention to Indian culture and enabled it to be considered and enjoyed by millions across the world."
Aleong said Perry, who has previously spoken about her love for Japan and its culture, may actually be helping, saying her performance "could renew appreciation for it."
Take a look at Katy's performance:
Perry's love for Japan actually made headlines before the AMAs. In June 2012 during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," she declared herself "obsessed with Japanese people. I love everything about them and they are so wonderful as human beings." But then she went on to say, "I'm so obsessed I want to skin you and wear you like Versace."
While her apparent joke didn't go over well, she tried to clarify her comment saying she had nothing but appreciation for the culture having grown up with Japanese exchange students stay in her family home.