What ran through your head when you saw Dior’s prints? As usual our first thoughts were, ‘where can we get that awesome bag/short/scarf?' However it’s the extras in the backdrop that have enraged some critics. The blogosphere’s exploded with claims that the campaign is discriminatory. Specifically, dressing a white model in designer clothes and flanking her with duplicate extras. ‘Are you saying all Chinese people look the same?’ asked one blogger?
Designed to be hung in Dior’s new flagship store in Shanghai, the print’s creator, Quentin Shih, a well known Chinese photographer, says there’s nothing defamatory about the images…. In fact, quite the opposite.
‘I wanted to show the power of Chinese people standing together and a kind of socialism in Chinese history (only in Chinese history not China now),’ said Quentin, ‘The Chinese models are not people. They are symbols of Chinese history between the 1960s and 1980s.’
As one blogger observed, ‘It would have been much more P.C. to choose a leggy, glam Chinese model to stand out among the duplicated commoners in the portraits.’ However Quentin said that just wasn’t a casting option. ‘Dior provided me an opportunity to photograph the models they used for their haute couture show in Paris. I selected eight models according to how their wardrobes matched my uniform colour palettes.’
Do you think these prints – which Quentin says Dior had no creative input in – deserve to be condemned? We want to hear your thoughts…
By Amy Molloy