This Designer Wore a Far-Right Paramilitary Outfit to Paris Fashion Week

Arnaldo Putra
Indonesian fashion influencer-designer Arnold Putra outraged the world for the first time with a bag made of human bones. He is now back and is wearing a full right-wing paramilitary suit. COLLAGE: VICE / IMAGES: @arnoldputra

Paris Fashion Week is no stranger to tactless and bland designs, and this year was no different as Indonesia’s most controversial influencer-designer was seen wearing a genocide-inspired fit while dating. the likes of Kanye West, designer Rick Owen and his wife and muse Michèle Lamy.

Arnold Putra, a man who once fashioned a bag made of human bones, was photographed last weekend dressed in a black and orange camouflage jacket with matching hat and pants, the colors of Indonesian paramilitary organization Pancasila Youth. The suits also bore the emblem of the far-right group, and at one point Arnold donned black leather gloves and a Balenciaga vest with multiple emblems.

The group once ran death squads for the Indonesian military during the anti-Communist purges overseen by far-right nationalist military leader Suharto, which saw 500,000 and 1.2 million people killed between 1965 and 1966. The Chinese-Indonesians were a particular goal. Occurring at the height of the Cold War, the massacres were tacitly supported by the United States, eager to stem the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.

“They were terrible, horrible and brutal,” said Indonesian author and London-based academic Soe Tjen Marching, noting that the era is a “very painful and unsolved” chapter in the country’s history.

“These [were people who] she took part in the massacres and was responsible for atrocities such as murder, rape and mutilation and was still allowed to escape freely, ”she told VICE World News. “Their impact can still be seen and felt even today in the stigmatization of survivors and victims, as well as in harmful racism and discrimination between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Members of the far-right Pancasila Youth group during a 2013 protest against the Australian government.  Photo: ADEK BERRY / AFP via Getty Images

Members of the far-right Pancasila Youth group during a 2013 protest against the Australian government. Photo: ADEK BERRY / AFP via Getty Images

Arnold regularly woos controversy for his antics, who have seen it mocking indigenous tribe in some of the most remote villages in the world. His stunts include not respecting the burial rituals and offering to the villagers fake designer items in exchange for human remains.

But it was his most infamous act – designing a bag made of alligator tongues and a “human backbone”, what he claimed was “ethically sourced” – that drove Arnold to infamy in 2020. He has since claimed to using “albino skin” and “plastinated human remains” in her fashion line.

Through a series of Instagram stories posted to his account on Saturday, Arnold shared photos of his latest provocative outfit and celebrity encounters, many of which seemed oblivious to the uniform’s troubling roots. In one photo, he was seen sitting on a sofa with Kanye West and his new girlfriend, actress Julia Fox, along with rapper Pusha T and Michèle Lamy. He even enjoyed personal time with Lamy and her boyfriend Owens, who is famous for her gothic aesthetic.

But the group’s biggest endorsement came from the far-right group, which remains active today and, in the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary The act of killingit is said to have three million members.

“With him wearing our uniform, Arnold Putra brought Pancasila’s ideology to the world.”

Pancasila Youth leader Aulia Arief thanked Arnold Putra and praised his outfit, expressing the group’s delight at being presented at a global event like Paris Fashion Week.

“With him wearing our uniform, Arnold Putra brought Pancasila’s ideology to the world,” Aulia wrote in a statement Monday on behalf of the group. She also extended an invitation to Arnold to visit their party headquarters in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

“Once again, our Pancasila Youth members [extend] our appreciation to Arnold Putra. Our uniform is now one [trendy] street style. ”

Arnold posts quirky drawings and scenes from bizarre photo shoots on his Instagram, but not much is known about him aside from his supposedly wealthy family background. Indonesian designers told VICE World News that, while “enviable”, Arnold’s rise to the top was founded on privilege and controversy.

“It doesn’t happen every day to have an Indonesian designer [time] with fashion heavyweights like Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy, but when they do they wear an outfit like Arnold Putra’s that celebrates the worst of our country, “said a Bali handbag designer, who declined to be nominated for this. story because I don’t want his brand to be associated with “something by Arnold Putra”.

It is unclear if Arnold designed and created the controversial Pancasila Youth outfit or if he wore the creation of another fashion house. VICE World News asked him about his choice of clothes at Paris Fashion Week: he replied to the messages but asked no questions about his outfit.

Lamy also shared Arnold’s photos on his Instagram account, arousing criticism from many Indonesians. On Twitter, Indonesian users lamented the lack of international awareness of the atrocities and demanded that Arnold be held accountable.

“Why didn’t the people who were at Paris Fashion Week say anything? It is shocking.

Soe Tjen also highlighted the international ignorance of Indonesia’s genocide when she explained the lack of indignation. “The world reacted [condemningly] when Prince Harry wore that Nazi soldier costume. Why didn’t the people who were at Paris Fashion Week say anything? It’s shocking, ”she said.

But he pointed to Arnold’s “ignorance” as a product of Indonesia’s broader cultural context, where the atrocities of the 1960s remain a highly taboo and undisputed topic.

“His ignorance however reflects the politicians of our country, many of whom have yet to condemn the events of 1965,” he said.

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