The design of dress from Italian label Miu Miu’s pre-fall 2017 collection made one Canadian retailer so uncomfortable that it immediately pulled the item from stores. The offending look? A five-pointed yellow star with “John” embroidered on it, affixed to the chest of a tartan sheath — a star reminiscent of the ones that Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
When Canadian shoppers alerted high-end department store Holt Renfrew of this fact, the retailer apologized for the “offensive” clothing and pulled it from shelves on Aug. 21.
When reached via email for comment regarding the offending style and its comparison by others to the yellow “Jude” stars associated with the Holocaust, Preia Narendra, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Miu Miu, tells Yahoo Style, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It was not Miu Miu’s intent in any way to make any political or religious statement, and we apologize for any offense that may have been taken. Kindly note that effective immediately these items will be removed from the collection.”
The World Jewish Congress has since also published a statement, noting that the group “commends Miu Miu and its parent company, Prada, on its swift attention and action to the concerns we raised regarding the use of the yellow star on its clothing items. At this critical time, when antisemitism and bigotry are rearing their heads in the public sphere, we must continue to exercise caution and show sensitivity in every sphere and sector.”
Likewise, the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Canada also has gone on the record thanking Holt Renfew “for hearing our concerns and having it removed from stores.”
However, some retailers are still selling the controversial merchandise. The Miu Miu denim jacket embellished with the star is still on sale at MyTheresa.com.
Miu Miu isn’t the only brand to have landed in hot water over a design that appears blatantly insensitive to Holocaust history.
In 2014, Zara received resounding criticism after manufacturing a striped shirt emblazoned with a yellow star over the chest, a look that many immediately called uncannily similar to both the uniforms Jews in concentration camps were forced to wear and to the notorious yellow star. And in 2007, the fast-fashion brand manufactured handbags with embroidered swastikas.
In 2015, Urban Outfitters came under fire for what the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called an “insensitive design,” after making gray-and-white-striped tapestries with pink triangles that bore a resemblance to concentration camp uniforms and the pink triangles that gay prisoners were forced to wear. In 2012, the retailer was also called out by the ADL for selling a yellow T-shirt with a six-pointed star over the chest.
The yellow six-pointed Star of David has also been garnering headlines recently: Pop icon Billy Joel wore the star on his chest and back while performing his encore during his monthly residency at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Aug. 21. It was Joel’s way of criticizing President Trump’s response to neo-Nazi and white supremacist’s actions in Charlottesville, Va., two weeks ago. When asked about the stars on his jacket, Joel’s rep shared a quote from Edmund Burke with the Associated Press: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
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