We’re all for themed parties. Give us a celestial ball, or a Gatsby-esque rager, and we’ll be well at home. After all, the intersection of booze and fancy dress is a welcome one. But this Coachella party we spotted over at LAist takes ‘tasteless’ to a whole other level.
Flaunt magazine took it upon themselves to host—wait for it—a “New Guantanamo” party during the first weekend of Coachella. Yes, what pairs with a weekend of music like a bash inspired by an infamous U.S. military detention center. Peanut butter and jelly, waterboarding and music festivals! Some things just go together.
The party, sponsored by True Religion Jeans and Smashbox Cosmetics (we’re just as horrified as you are), promises a “pop-up experience” featuring “pleasurable torture” (presumably just standard Coachella sleep deprivation and none of the other controversial methods used at Guantanamo). The invite features a passel of barely-clad models brandishing fake machine guns against a desert backdrop.
Buzzfeed got this canned, PR-approved response from the folks at Flaunt in the wake of internet outrage: “In its 15-year history, Flaunt has not shied away from controversy or provocation. We routinely cover topics of social and political contention. At our event, we intend to create an atmosphere of fun, and the spirit and theme were never intended to cause offense or harm. Guantanamo has been controversial from its inception, and that an unresolved human rights issue is again fetching headlines is, in our opinion, true to our aims as a publication. We value and respect the public’s concern and are taking action.”
But, as Buzzfeed points out, no word yet on what the aforementioned “action” will be.
The backlash surrounding the party has garnered a swift response from Smashbox, who are no longer underwriting the event: “Smashbox Studios agreed to sponsor the pop up photo session portion of Flaunt‘s Coachella event not knowing there was a theme beyond it being a “feel good after party” to the music festival. We saw the invitation for the first time this morning, when it was thankfully brought to our attention by our concerned clients. In no way do we condone the artwork or title and have spoken with the magazine who have agreed to a name and artwork change.”
We’re going to go ahead and say that this is one of the more tasteless things we’ve seen from the fashion community in a while. And now, for a long shower.