Christian Dior is in a spot of hot water following the release of photos from its latest ‘Shanghai Dreamers’ campaign. It will be interesting to see whether photographer Quentin Shih, well known in China, can talk his way out of this!
The photographs depict white models in haute couture posing in front of identical Chinese extras in utilitarian work wear. Fashion bloggers everywhere have been slamming the campaign, calling it discriminatory and racist.
Advertising campaigns, particularly for luxury brands it seems, frequently employ controversial subject matter– Dior Addict, anyone? But this series of images is causing quite a stir.
Shih told journalists, ‘I wanted to show the power of the Chinese people standing together and a kind of socialism in Chinese history.’ All well and good, but if this means suggesting that all Chinese look the same, then the people aren’t happy.
At the same time, perhaps fashion devotees must remember not to take Dior’s statement so literally. Perhaps there is symbolic meaning that can be drawn from these images. Fashion is art, and art often causes a stir. Often, the stir is born from touching on something vital within society.
Playing on history is a clever tactic for fashion publicists- consumers will almost definitely engage with your brand. If Dior is going to parody an era that brought misery, imprisonment, and even death to countless citizens, it might be genius in gaining attention. But they must also remember: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
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