In fashion, there are certain rules designers ought to follow, such as do not print slogans that condone drug use or the sexualisation of children.
And do not, under any circumstances, place a yellow star anywhere near the chest of any garment.
An image of a Miu Miu dress that was pulled from sale after complaints it resembled a yellow star worn by Jews in Nazi Germany.
While designers sometimes plead that such stars evoke the Wild West or varsity culture (stars are cute! stars denote achievement!), the Nazis made sure that from the 1930s until forever that they will be associated with the murderous pursuit of Jews in the Holocaust.
And yet, Italian fashion giant Miu Miu got it so hopelessly wrong by producing a dress in its latest range with a yellow star patch on the chest.
Although the star is five pointed, and not the six points of the Star of David, and says “John”, it didn’t matter.
The outrage was swift, with Canadian shoppers at the Holt Renfrew department store among the first to alert a US-based blogger, who goes only by the name “Jewish Chick”.
A shirt in the Miu Miu range that has been pulled from sale after comparisons were made between the star patch and the yellow star worn by Jews in Nazi Germany.
“I was shocked and saddened that a brand such as Miu Miu [sister brand of Prada] would bring such a design to production and a store such as [Holt Renfrew] would then sell it without question,” Jewish Chick, who did not wish to give her real name, told Fairfax Media.
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“While the star has five points versus six, it clearly brings back horrific images of the stars Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust and is a direct spit in the face to the six million Jews who were massacred by the Nazis, as well as those who survived.”
On Monday US time, Holt Renfrew removed the “offensive” clothing from sale and issued an apology, Jewish Chick said.
Subsequently, Preia Narendra, senior vice-president of marketing and communications at Miu Miu, sent Jewish Chick this email: “It was not Miu Miu’s intent in any way to make any political or religious statement, and we apologise for any offence that may have been taken. Kindly note that effective immediately these items will be removed from the collection.”
A cloth star with the word ‘Jude’, German for Jew, that Jews had to wear during the Nazi occupation.
While Fairfax Media was unable to find any of the “yellow star” dresses, which would have cost more than $2000 based on similar items, online on Wednesday, e-boutique SSense was still selling a blue shirt with a red star from the collection.
In 2014, Spanish fast-fashion giant Zara pulled a children’s top from sale that was striped and had a yellow star on the chest. While the star said “sherriff” and was five pointed, the striped background only added to comparisons to a concentration camp uniform.
And in 2007, Zara also had to withdraw a handbag that featured a green swastika embroidered inside a red sun.
As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I find myself asking how this keeps happening.
No-one is suggesting Miu Miu (or Zara before it) intended to draw Holocaust comparisons to its latest range but the use of a yellow star anywhere on a garment, especially on the chest, is considered tone deaf at best and deeply offensive at worst.
Perhaps it’s time designers just ditch the yellow star as a fashion motif altogether. It’s just not worth the price.