Lakshmi Bathing Suit Makes a Splash in India

  • Jonit Mata
  • 24 Jun, 2011

Back in May, label Lisa Blue sent a line of swimsuits down the runway at Australian Fashion Week.  One particular suit in the collection had an image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi on the front and across the rear end.  This caused outrage among some devout Hindus in India, who took to the streets to protest.  They ripped up photocopies of the Lakshmi suit and burned the Australian flag.

If you liked the suit and were hoping to buy one, you’re out of luck.  Lisa Blue quickly posted this response on facebook:

We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed. Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offense. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand.

While you can buy Lakshmi t-shirts and tote bags throughout the entire Indian subcontinent, seeing the goddess of wealth and beauty stretched over someone’s rear end, that just goes too far for modest Indian sensibilities.  Of course, fashion is an equal opportunity offender, and the image of Buddha on a swimsuit was also seen as blasphemous in the somewhat-less-modest-than-India country of Thailand.

In case you’re wondering, Jesus on a bathing suit has been done before – in Brazil, and sure enough, the Catholic church vocalized its objections.  I don’t know where the picture below of the Virgin Mary bikini was taken, but it certainly makes a fitting counterpart to the back of the Lakshmi suit.

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