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Marie Claire Apologises for Publishing Culturally Offensive Pic of Gemma Ward

Image: Paul Kane/Getty

Image: Paul Kane/Getty

The fashion world has made another boo-boo. Marie Claire Australia has pissed off New Zealander academic Ngarino Ellis, because it published a photo of Gemma Ward with a Maori moko painted on her chin for its October issue.

The spread was intended to pay tribute to French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, but has caused offence to the senior art history lecturer at the University of Auckland.

“Moko is complex and serious and not to be taken lightly,” Dr Ellis told the NZ Herald. “It is disturbing that Marie Claire is so removed from current discussions globally about the importance of the fashion world to be ethical and culturally inclusive.”

In a statement issued to Daily Mail Australia, the glossy has apologised “unreservedly” for offending the Maori people’s cultural values. “The image was not created or commissioned by Marie Claire, but one chosen as part of a retrospective of the work of the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier,” it read. “We would not knowingly support the appropriation of any aspect of another culture without the participation or support of the members of that culture.”

It seems more apologies are in order, though. The Australian Women’s Weekly also used the image to promote the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria starting next month.

Be sure to check out the image here, or grab a copy of Marie Claire‘s October issue (it’s the one with Lena Dunham on the cover) on stands now, and tell us what you think.