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Victoria's Secret apologizes for use of headdress in fashion show

  • This Nov. 7, 2012 photo released by Starpix shows model Karlie Kloss wearing an Indian headdress during the taping of The 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York. Victoria Secret has apologized for putting a replica of a Native American headdress on a model for its annual fashion show. The company responded to criticism over the weekend by saying it was sorry to have upset anyone and would not include the outfit in the show’s television broadcast next month. (AP Photo/Starpix, Amanda Schwab)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Victoria's Secret has apologized for putting a Native American-style headdress on a model for its annual fashion show, after the outfit was criticized as a display of ignorance toward tribal culture and history.

The company responded to the complaints over the weekend by saying it was sorry to have upset anyone and that it wouldn't include the outfit in the show's television broadcast next month, or in any marketing materials.

"We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone," the company said.

Headdresses historically are a symbol of respect, worn by Native American war chiefs and warriors. For many Plains tribes, for example, each feather placed on a headdress has significance and had to be earned through an act of compassion or bravery. Some modern-day Native American leaders have been gifted war bonnets in ceremonies accompanied by prayers and songs.

"When you see a Lakota chief wearing a full headdress, you know that he was a very honorable man. He was a leader. He did a lot of honorable things for his people," said Michelle Spotted Elk, a Santa Cruz, Calif., woman of mixed heritage whose husband is Lakota. "It also has religious significance. With them, there's not a division between spirituality and their leadership."


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