Italian designer Claudio Cutugno said that he was unaware blackface was offensive.
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Protests erupted last week after models for an Italian designer emerged on the catwalk sporting glittery blackface at Milan Fashion Week. Claudio Cutugno presented his collection on Feb. 24 as part of his all-black themed show, which featured sheer blouses and feathered embellishments, according to E News.

"I'm all for unique and interesting styles that command attention, but come on—you can hardly see the models' faces,” a writer for Bustle wrote, according to E News. “Not to mention that this is literally blackface, which is, you know, racist."

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Cutugno, who says the collection was inspired by artist Emilio Isgrò, apologized, saying that he was unaware blackface was offensive.

"I am extremely respectful of the afroamerican [sic] culture and extremely sorry for each type episode of racism," he told E News in a statement. "Furthermore my inspiration was coming from a completely different idea which has nothing to do with the theme of afroamerican culture. I would have never tought [sic] someone could have find [sic] the make up offensive, otherwhise [sic] I would have never used it."

Some writers, like the Huffington Post’s Julee Wilson, say the design did not depict blackface. What do you think? Please let us know in comments.

Read more at E News.