Canberra: French luxury fashion house Chanel has been slammed on social media for “humiliating” the Indigenous Australian culture by producing a $2,000 boomerang derided as the ultimate in useless status symbols, the media reported on Tuesday.
The wood and resin item is included in the haute couture brand’s latest spring-summer 2017 pre-collection under “other accessories”, the Guardian reported.
Jeffree Star, a US makeup artist with a sizeable following on social media, brought it to wider attention when he displayed his own on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram on Monday.
“Having so much fun with my new Chanel boomerang,” he tweeted.
— Jeffree Star (@JeffreeStar) May 15, 2017
Over 86,000 people liked his photo of the inexplicable luxury item on Instagram, where there was a heated debate about Chanel’s appropriation of Indigenous Australian culture.
Nearly 2,300 comments were posted in three hours, some by users who identified as Aboriginal Australians who said they found the Chanel boomerang offensive.
One person wrote that it “humiliates a whole culture”.
“I am from Australia and I am offended that a company would make a joke out of something that was used as a weapon for survival.”
Nayuka Gorrie, a writer and activist, said the item was “so wrong it is almost absurd”, when Indigenous Australians were the most disadvantaged people in Australia and had to fight to preserve their cultures.
— Nayuka Gorrie (@NayukaGorrie) May 15, 2017
In response, Chanel told Guardian Australia that it was “extremely committed to respecting all cultures, and regrets that some may have felt offended”.
Chanel has sold boomerangs since 2006. The “other accessories” in the spring-summer 2017 pre-collection include a set of three tennis balls ($570), a racket ($2,220) and a set of beach paddles and balls ($4,860), all adorned with the coveted back-to-back “Cs”.