Dior’s first all-black fashion show: “A Portrait of an Artist”

Maria Henry looks into the origins and impact of Dior’s collaboration with artist Amoako Boafo.

As physical fashion shows are still unable to take place, we’ve seen fashion houses taking steps to approach digital showcases in new ways. Dior is no exception of this and chose to present their newest summer 2021 menswear collection, a collaboration with artist Amoako Boafo, through a series of videos.

The videos confronted issues of diversity within high fashion culture and exclusively featured black models. They were partially shot in London and partially in Boafo’s Ghanaian studio offering an interesting cultural exchange and digital collaboration between creative director Kim Jones and artist Boafo.

In an interview with British Vogue, Jones explains that from the moment he saw Boafo’s works in the Rubell Museum he could see it “turning into things”. Having spent his childhood visiting Ghana with his father, it was an instant sense of inspiration for Jones, a connection between the artist’s work and the creative director’s experiences. Through his art, Boafo was able to tap into a part of Jones’ mind and past and create a bond between the two that would lead to this collaboration.

The collection showcases a range of garments that adapts both the classic French-chic style that Dior is known for and the vibrant Ghanaian art-style Boafo is known for. It incorporates both prints of Boafo’s work displayed on the garments and elements of his colour palates in the accessories.

As Jones narrated to Vogue: “You have a Breton stripe underneath an Amoako print so it’s a French, Ghanaian, Dior, Amoako vibe, all existing together. It’s an exchange. I think people need to educate themselves as to who their consumers are, and realise that people from all different parts of the world can create something much more exciting”.

In an industry that has a torrid history of appropriating and disregarding black culture, it is inspiring to see a collection that is placing a black artist at the forefront of a major fashion house, openly crediting their work and allowing them to actively participate in the narrative of the show. With the Black Lives Matter movement continuing to make waves, we can only hope that more fashion houses will follow in Dior’s footsteps and we can start to make our way to a more inclusive and diverse industry.

If you enjoyed this article you can find more of Maria’s work @Mariawriteshere on twitter.

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