For today’s WTF news, we need look no further than designer Peggy Noland’s latest collection. If you’re not familiar, Peggy Noland is the woman behind Miley Cyrus’ Air Jordans and some rompers Rihanna wore during her tour. But I’m sure in the coming weeks, her name is going to get even more attention as the Missouri based designer just released several t-shirt and dresses which feature Oprah’s head photoshopped onto several unclothed bodies.
Noland sat down recently with New York Magazine, Noland attempts to explain the motivation behind the pieces and just manages to leave us more…disturbed.
New York Mag: Why Oprah?
This is a collaboration with designer [and Misbehave creative director] Sally Thurer. She’s the one who made the graphic. For me, it originated as kind of the age old [red] carpet question: Who are you wearing? And this clearly is: You’re wearing Oprah instead of a designer. Sally mentioned from the onset of this collaboration that one of Oprah’s most effective qualities is that she’s a placeholder, she’s a stand-in for you with her foibles and her failures — especially with her public weight issues. I’m interested and sensitive to this increased access that we have to celebrities and to all of their ups and downs, for better or worse. I feel like it’s kind of my own personal exploration and exploitation of just that.
New York Mag: Why unclothed Oprah?
There’s a David Nelson painting of the former mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. He’s nude except for women’s lingerie. It caused this huge uproar in the late eighties in Chicago. It’s kind of an updated version of that. We feel very protective of our public figures. We don’t want them to be exposed that way, but we feel like they’re ours, too. The simpler, more lighthearted idea is that it’s like one of those bikini-printed beach shirts. I think there are some really meaningful philosophical layers. I can’t believe I just said “philosophical” when talking about a dress. We share a humorous underpinning to all our work. That’s why there’s unclothed Oprah with a KISS face. It can nod to how ridiculous the fashion industry is at times.
New York Mag: Do you think Oprah’s going to put this dress on her Favorite Things list?
Surely Oprah personally would not be excited about having our version of her nude body splashed on a dress for other people to wear, but I think it’s an interesting conversation to have about our access and our interest in people that we don’t know.
No Peggy I don’t think Oprah will be excited about this. In fact, you’ll be lucky if she decides not to sue both you and your collaborator for what I’m sure is the unapproved use of her image. While I understand the art and the statement they were trying to make with this piece, it’s sad and disgusting that this woman and her collaborator, who designed the graphic, are attempting to exploit “Oprah’s image” and the unclothed black body for attention and economic gain.