October 30th, 2013
Diversity, Fashion News
Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Giampaolo Sgura, and more Apologize for Blackface at Disco Africa Halloween Party
By Claire

Fashion designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua and many others, including noted fashion photographer Giampaolo Sgura, took to social media recently to apologize for their racial insensitivity at the controversial ‘Disco Africa’ Halloween party.
Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Giampaolo Sguara, Anna Dello Russo, and more Apologize for Blackface at Disco Africa Party
Dell’Acqua wrote on Twitter, “It Was not my intention to be disrespectful of offensive to anyone with my halloween costume. I realize that it hurt some people and i sincerely apoligize.”
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Giampaolo Sgura, along with fellow hosts Marco Braga and Miguel Arnau, also released official statements on Instagram, saying:

“As the organizers of the fashion party “Hallowood Disco Africa”, we would like to sincerely apologize that this private party offended so many people. It was never our intention to do so. We had named the party “Disco Africa” to reflect the growing influence of Africa in the design and fashion world, not only as a growing market but also as the source of creative ideas. In retrospect, we clearly failed to think through the possible negative consequences and interpretations that might have resulted and appeared in both traditional and social media. These interpretations are all the more upsetting because most people in the fashion industry, from which we come, have always taken a strong stand against social discrimination whether on sexual, religious or racial grounds. Creative talent is what counts, not a person’s social, racial, religious or sexual background. We’re so sorry that we failed to make our position clear and gave the impression of racism. We are now much wiser and will do our very best to clarify our position in the future.”

Hallowood-2013-party-giampaolo-sgura--photo-zhanna-romashka--DSCF6989 (1)
So, there you have it.
What do you think?
Thanks to @Louis_Via_Roma for the tip!

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33 Responses to “Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Giampaolo Sgura, and more Apologize for Blackface at Disco Africa Halloween Party”

  1. Dobe says:

    Meh. We’ll see it again next year. But, thanks for bringing this to the light.

  2. miss medusa says:

    Bull****!!! these people don’t do ANYTHING w/o first thinking it over and weighing the consequences…good or bad! and isn’t the fashion industry the same industry that gets flack for not hiring models of color? hell…Project Runway just named a melanated woman (Dom Streater) the winner after 12 seasons!

  3. DeLaine says:

    Only sorry he was caught….DELL’ACQUA = DELL’IGNORANT…
    #insincereapology #canned

  4. Jos says:

    Blah, typical apology. If there was no uproar, there would have been no apology. Next time, he just he won’t post the pictures.

  5. AD says:

    I actually have the thank The Fashion Bomb for bringing this issue to light in the first place. This blog’s Instagram account was the first place where I saw these photos posted, and then Claire’s truly insightful, poignant commentary about how insensitive these costumes were also really helped to put this issue into perspective. You showed leadership, and when I saw the photos, I, like many, immediately reported them. How could I not?
    I believe that this will probably continue each and every Halloween, and that’s out of our hands. But if we just sit here and complain without taking some sort of action (in this case, bringing the issue to the attention of your readers and Instagram followers) change won’t happen.
    Thanks for bringing this to light!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I find it very hard to believe that he did not consider the mere possibility that it MIGHT offend people, as that ‘blackface’ was being painted on… Really??
    After all that’s been transpiring lately with situations like this, I truly find that hard to believe.
    Nonetheless he apologized at least, right? -__-

  7. Sweetie says:

    Not good enough! As DeLaine said only sorry for being caught…the fact that those people felt it was OK to participate in the f***ry say’s it all!

  8. Soul Touch says:

    Here is the thing, I am okay with the African reference. I am actually okay with the tribal gear…but I think it’s completely unnecessary to wear face/body paint to portray the skin of blacks…as it is being mocked. More so, I am truly and fully insulted by Dell’Acqua obviously slap in the face…and I said as much on his FaceBook.

    What was his intentions if not to insult? Oh, you didn’t expect to get called out. I am not American and I respect that we all come from different cultures and histories but there is a common ground of decency. In place like Italy who will let african immigrants die in the waters, throw bananas at soccer players, and continue to not allow black models their just due I find it hard to believe that there was no malice in his intent.

    I would never attend a party or dress in gear mocking anyone be it south asian, east asian, aboriginal and so forth…completely distasteful.

  9. Danielle says:

    Same generic apology as usual. We will see it again next year in an even more offensive fashion I’m sure. They knew exactly what they were doing when they created the idea of an ‘African Disco’, they just don’t care.

    At this point I would rather them say…We don’t give a F*** what you think and we are not sorry, so no one would feel like they are being remorseful in their fake apology.

    What we as black people need to do, is be a lot more fashion conscious of they brands we endorse and support.

    Kanye talks about classism being the new racism. But racism is still very alive and well. What it has morphed into is systemic racism rather then blatant racism in the industry of fashion and other professional realms.

  10. Pap says:

    I’m tired of people doing racist, sexist or any “ist” thing and then apologizing with the generic and passing the buck: “I’m sorry…It was not my intention…”

    Why not just say “I’m sorry…I am either an idiot or I genuinely wanted to offend and be controversial. But because my public relations manager is telling me that I may lose sponsors I have drafted this eloquent message to ostensibly appear as I am not racist.”

  11. Kandy says:

    I can’t stand this! Its like non blacks are so fascinated with being black but they really don’t want to be black. Like really? Why even do something and then be sorry about it later…are you really sorry or you’re just sorry that you got caught? I don’t understand this one bit. Then those same non-black individuals who do this every year act as though nothing is wrong with it. Come on now!

  12. Jay Are says:

    What people do they know in Africa walking around with 1960′s cartoon black face?? That is NOT African inspiration. Clearly this is what racist Hollywood did back in the day. Is this not something that can easily be Googled before taking the time to create the costume??
    Our unique prints and use of color is inspiration, NOT painting your face tar black. Ignorance on level 1000.

  13. Shirley says:

    These spooks don’t care. Next year it will be something else or even earlier than that. They wanted disco Africa and they did it. Next it will be disco slavery. Seems like they are trying to change halloween to n****rween.

    The devil is a liar forever!

  14. mnrodgers says:

    So when that man but a “slave collar” around his neck and painted his face he thought “oh man…this is so Vogue…this isnt a representation of BLACK SLAVERY its a representation of FASHION! voila!”…excuse my “blackness” but CHILE PLEASE…this was totally intentional. Those in blackface…totally NOT african…its American and European..there are no 1960s blackface AFRICANS walking about in Nigeria I can promise you that.

  15. mnrodgers says:

    Claire, will you throw a “German/Nazi” party and invite a bunch of black celebs to dress up like Hitler, Nazi extremists, and Holocaust victims? I wanna wear white face…or a “Southern Extremist” party and all ur black friends can dress up like KKK members and a “sterotypical” white racist…lets do it…ill bring the party favors and some champagne.

  16. Sher sher says:

    what amazes me is the fact that these people have the audacity to think an “apology” is going to end the angst towards them. You mean to tell me in 2013, this ass didn’t know that walking around in blackface, wearing a costume with shackles around your neck and parading yourself in the negative light that has been associated with the wrongs committed against African, would be the acceptable thing to do???!! WHAT BLASTED CENTURY DO THESE PEOPLE LIVE IN??? I’m so over the whole “I did some dumb shit, got caught and now (at the behest of my PR team), I apologize”…it’s old and tired.

    you want to “make it right”?? STOP DOING BULLSHIT LIKE THIS AND BEING DISRESPECTFUL, IGNORANT JACKASSES. Educate yourselves on the plight of black people in this world. Be sensitive to matters that have affected an entire race of people for centuries and then… put yourselves in our shoes and see if you’d like it if someone disrespected you in the same manner (novel idea, huh??). Funny thing is…he would NEVER have held a party mocking Israel or the Holocaust. Nor would he have thrown a party in which people could come and completely mock or bash homosexuals but when it comes to black people…everyone thinks the shit is ok. WELL IT’S NOT.

  17. DARKNLOVELY says:

    Any PR expert would be able to dissect this “apology” and deem it as utter BS. They are not sincerely apologizing for their actions, but rather sorry that WE were HURT/OFFENDED by their actions. Not surprised. I wish that most of us blacks could be as disrepectful and tactless as these idiots. We are just simply too nice.

  18. Lila says:

    “we would like to sincerely apologize that this private party offended so many people.”

    Translation: “What I do in my private life is none of your business. I’s not my fault that you people are so sensitive but, if you want me to apologise then here you go: “I’m sorry you’re making a big deal out of my private business” how can you say we’re racist when we were celebrating your culture? slavery was a long time ago, you guys should really loosen up, it was a compliment.”

  19. Shirley says:

    Lol @mnrodgers, sounds like it would be fun too.

  20. Onyx says:


  21. Maverick says:

    Is there some apology template for when you wear blackface? I feel like everyone who has already worn or will wear blackface for Halloween uses the same apology template. I’ve heard the same apology from the DWTS girl for her blackface…like ugh. It’s not even genuine, if you are a racist let us know, stop hiding behind these fake apologies.

  22. Carla says:

    The irony is they have had more support for this from their fellow Italians saying “Why apologise?” “Black face is Africa what is the problem” “This isn’t an issue” Blaming the media for the outcry blah blah. When in truth the only major publication to cover it was Huffington Post. Nothing from Business of Fashion, Nothing from Vogue, Nothing from the broadsheets in the UK such as the Guardian, Telegraph etc etc. Even the Daily Mail online hasn’t touched the story. The PRs got paid well no doubt for damage limitation. There is zero compassion to our pain or awareness whatsoever going by the majority of responses from the Italians! They are still liking each other’s disgusting racist pics etc etc and patting each other on the backs and laughing. And defending and bigging up Giampaolo Sgura (top fashion photographer with power) and the other two organisers. It’s a disgrace but good to know what they really think of us. The apologies mean nothing – they just don’t care.

  23. Cacy says:

    Liars. I don’t believe a word.

  24. JT says:

    What RACIST PIGS!!! I’m so sick of these silly racist queens who wish they were black!!! This is the most obvious display of hatred I have seen in a while. I hope no one ever buys a single thing from Alessandro Dell’Acqua or prints anything from that talentless Giampaolo Sgura. These faggots are doing the most, how dare they!!! Words are bullshit, their actions speak loud and clear. This is a sign that the world is getting worse not better!!! White people are so scared of losing their power now that minorities are going to outnumber them that they have jumped out the window and gone too far!!!

  25. Deedee says:

    ditto @Carla….black fits the aesthetic in an afro disco party with next to no black people in attendence but not on runways where black faces can be employed….GTFOH

  26. JT says:

    Africans should throw a party called the Guido Wops of little italy and see how they like it!!!

  27. po' lil tink tink says:

    They wanted to do it…And as far as “blackface” goes, they did a great job! The party looked fun fashionable n very creative…There was Nothin to do but Apologize insincerely.Funny how rich white folks embrace African coulture more than we do..It was a themed party #lightenup

  28. Megan says:

    If you are keeping up with the immigration issues in Italy and how they are treating people from Africa you would find this offensive. Look up Cécile Kyenge, she is the fist black minister in Italy and what she is going through right now.

  29. Nik says:

    How can you possibly think posing as an African with a shackle around your neck wouldn’t be offensive? Acting ignorant to your ignorance is not an excuse…

  30. Anonymous says:

    I smell bullsh*t.
    Glad you covered this tho

  31. Leash says:

    Same thing as someone else said, when I first read this, the first thing that came to mind was “Bull****!” I’m normally all for giving people the benefit of the doubt but what in the world does black face, wearing shackles, or dressing up as stereotypes of people from Africa have to do with the influence of Africa in the fashion industry??? And then the apology was fake; they basically said, oh, what we did wasn’t wrong because that wasn’t our intention but we’re sorry you interpreted it that way.. Smh.

  32. Binta says:

    I guess I don’t see what the big deal is, haters gon hate. They always do; they always have. I’m not offended or angered by this event. It’s confusing how often people who follow fashion bestow dignity and respect upon others, who haven’t earned it. A fashion industry/niche, as a social construct, is quite conservative anyway and therefore has a lot to lose in going beyond itself. White Fashion or any singular Fashion perspective has never rivaled the interest, complexity, sophistication and sheer sex appeal of anything and everything beyond considered TRIBAL. White Fashion uses blackface as a Creative Project to understand how to superimpose “TRIBAL” on an industry that is restrictive, confined, and exclusionary. So these boys, are simply doing as they have been commissioned: Charting their expansion into something they consistently and passionately relegate as refuse.

  33. Tessa says:

    @Binta Wow I really hope you’re a troll because anyone with common sense would know the difference between high-end fashion with tribal elements and ugly amateur costumes with straight up blackface. What they displayed at that gathering is an example of cultural appropriation ON TOP OF racism. There is no justification for this; if they wanted an African feel they could have hired Black models, ever thought of that? Don’t be an apologist for this poor, tasteless excuse of ‘creativity’.

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