Hey Heidi, you’re not Native American. Quit playing dress up! b3.jpg

Pouting Pocahontas, you’re probably weeping over your participation in this hot mess © Heidi Klum

Yes, we’re well aware that the fabulous fashionista is fond of throwing the most colossal costume parties, but it isn’t Halloween just yet, darling. 

A right old brouhaha is bubbling over some rather startling shots of decidedly non-Native damsels decked out in embarrassingly hackneyed Red Indian garb for a Germany’s Next Top Model shoot – think girls astride wild-eyed stallions, lots of fringe and tassels and furs, even an honest-to-goodness teepee as a prop.

To be sure, this is by no means the first time the fashion industry has dabbled in the dubious craft of cultural appropriation – Kaiser Karl’s (admittedly rather chic) cowgirls for Chanel Metiers D’Arts Pre-fall 2014 comes to mind – but that doesn’t make it any less egregious.

Hey Heidi, you’re not Native American. Quit playing dress up! b2.jpg

Is the GNTM spread “artistic” in its own right? Given its burnished sepia treatment and the evocative desert-scape, we can (perhaps hesitantly) reply in the affirmative.

But here’s the problem. We expect better from Heidi, and having the images beautifully rendered doesn’t excuse the fact that there are thousands of Native Americans who are justifiably unhappy about their deeply complex, multifaceted customs being cheapened by a couple of glossy photographs of aspiring models in flashy feathers and chintzy chap boots.

Our personal take? If you want to reference traditional Native American culture, get Native Americans to represent themselves, on their own terms. Don’t contribute to the fetishisation of a group of people who have been casually and cruelly marginalised for far too long.

We’ll have to wait and see what Heidi’s response to this fiasco will be; at the time of writing, the spread can still be viewed in its entirety on her Facebook page. Take a look and judge for yourself.

Hey Heidi, you’re not Native American. Quit playing dress up! b1.jpg