Doja Cat red outfit: what did she wear to Schiaparelli’s Paris Fashion Week show - what does trypophobia mean?

Doja Cat walked the runway covered in more than 30,000 Swarovski crystals

Fashion Week show, as the 2023 fashion season kicked off in style on Monday 23 January. Naomi Campbell walked covered in a black fur coat with a wolf’s head peering out from the shoulder, while Irina Shayk wore a lioness dress and Kylie Jenner even had a huge 3D lion’s head attached to her black velvet minidress.

The animals were symbolic of the leopard, the lioness and the she-wolf in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the theme of the show. The poem describes the Italian writer’s journey through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. One of the most show-stopping outfits, however, came from singer Doja Cat - who was red from head to toe as she was covered in red Swarovski crystals and wearing a co-ordinated red outfit designed by the fashion house.

Schiaparelli was founded in 1927 by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and is known for its unconventional themes. The label has been worn by well known celebrities including Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian. Doja Cat’s look has, however, been received negatively by some fans as a number of people have taken to social media to say that the outfit has triggered a health condition known as trypophobia.

So, what exactly did Doja Cat wear, just who is she and what is trypophobia? Here’s what you need to know.

What did Doja Cat wear to Paris Fashion Week?

Doja Cat attended the fashion show with more than 30,000 ruby red Swarovski crystals stuck to her body, including covering her entire head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands - and even her eyelids. It took almost five hours for the crystals to be applied on Doja by hand.

Musician Doja Cat attended the 2023 Schiaparelli Paris Fashion Week show covered in more than 30,000 red Swarovski crystals. Photo by Instagram/patmcgrathreal.

The striking sparkly look was created by Makeup artist Pat McGrath who took to Instagram to say that Doja had “sublime patience during the four hours and 58 minutes it took to create the look”. She added that she found this “inspiring”.

She also shared a video of the incredible end result with her 4.8 million followers, adding “the final product was a magical, mesmerising masterpiece of sparkling brilliance.”

In another time lapse video posted to Instagram, which shows Doja Cat had a bald cap fitted to her recently shaved head and what appeared to be red paint before all the dazzling crystals, she referred to Doja Cat as a “major persona”.

Schiaparelli’s show was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, which describes the Italian writer’s journey through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil - hence the bold red colour palette chosen for Doja Cat’s outfit. McGrath said in her Instagram post that “Doja’s Inferno’ celebrates the essence of haute couture with shimmering, sublime sparkle”.

The incredible look was finished with a beautiful red outfit which perfectly complemented the shade of red of her body paint and crystals. She wore a red silk faille bustier, hand-knit skirt of lacquered wooden beads and Trompe l’œil toe boots, according to the official Schiaparelli Instagram account.

What is trypophobia?

Trypophobia refers to a strong fear or disgust of closely packed holes. The name, which first came in to the use in 2005, combines the Greek words “trypa” which means punching or drilling holes and “phobia” which means fear or aversion. People who have this phobia typically feel queasy, disgusted, and distressed when looking at surfaces that have small holes which are gathered close together or clustered into a pattern.

Various triggers of trypophobia have been identified, such as honeycombs, bubble wrap, or fruit seeds. Certain patterns, bumps, patterned animals, and imagery may also trigger trypophobic reactions. Trypophobia has not, however, been recognised as an official phobia by experts.

Fans’ reactions to Doja Cat’s outfit on social media, however, suggests that it may affect many people.

One person retweeted an image of Doja Cat on the runway and said: “This is triggering my trypophobia so bad”. Another said the look was a “nightmare” for her.

Another Twitter user said although they thought the look was “cool”, their phobia meant the look also made their “skin crawl”.

Who is Doja Cat?

Doja Cat is a 27-year-old American rapper, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Her real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, and she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began making and releasing music on SoundCloud as a teenager, gaining the attention of record companies at the age of 17 and going on to sign a record deal in 2014.

She became a viral internet meme with her 2018 single "Mooo!", a novelty song in which she makes satirical claims about being a cow. Her other songs include ‘Woman’, ‘Get into Her’, ‘Kiss Me More’ and ‘Say So’.