Ear Hustle

“Peggy Noland’s Naked Oprah Dress All About Black Women as Objects”

 

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Why naked 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 naked Oprah with a KISS face. It can nod to how ridiculous the fashion industry is at

The dress is anything but “lighthearted.” She chose to use Oprah’s image — as the most powerful black woman in entertainment  who’s waged a very public battle over her weight throughout her career— instead of, say, an actual designer, because it’s something that will create a spectacle. Here’s more on Nolan:

 

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