Following Kylie Jenner’s Gilead-themed party in June to celebrate her friend Anastasia “Stassie” Karanikolaoui's birthday, Natalie Bronfman, the costume designer for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, is finally weighing in on the controversy. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star had faced backlash and had been called tone deaf over the party’s theme, as the Hulu drama centers in a world where women are severely oppressed.
“I don’t think it's done maliciously as it is more done not having really thought the process through and really [understanding] the symbolism," Bronfman told Entertainment Tonight. “We live in a society where people don’t take the time to read the full newspaper article, they usually read the headline. And everything is in split seconds and then they move on to something else. And that’s just where we’re going at with all of the technology."
"So I know it wasn’t really done for any other reason other than not having really understood what this stands for. Not everyone has read Ms. Atwood’s book," she continued, referring to the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name on which the Hulu series is based. “Not everyone knows the core meaning of it I guess. I mean people will wear what they wear and I can’t criticize people’s choices -- but yeah, I was a little shocked."
Jenner's party featured the show's infamous costumes of red handmaid robes and white bonnets, wait staff dressed as the servant-class Marthas, cocktails named “Praise Be Vodka” and “Under His Eye Tequila” and guests greeting each other with the phrase "Praise be,” which is commonly spoken on the series.
Bronfman is not the only one from the Hulu series to speak out on the controversy. Shortly after the party took place, Bradley Whitford, who portrays Commander Joseph Lawrence in The Handmaid’s Tale, slammed the party as “tacky.”
“I don’t know...seems a little tacky,” he said during an appearance on The Talk. “You know, that costume is so kind of iconic, and it’s interesting how it’s changed from initially a sort of symbol of oppression to now, as the show is moving ahead, to a symbol of resistance. So, yeah, a cocktail party seems to sort of dash all that significance.”
Unfortunately, Jenner isn’t the only one to draw inspiration from the harrowing series for costume. Online retailer Yandy faced backlash last fall after their website included a The Handmaid's Tale-inspired Halloween costume titled “Sexy Handmaid.”0comments
The costume featured a red mini dress, matching cape and white bonnet reminiscent of the outfits worn by the handmaids on the Hulu series.
The company later released a statement and removed the costume from its site after it became clear that it was “seen as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than an expression of women’s empowerment."