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Oh Dior, distortion is not fashion!

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-11-17 07:52
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Bar Suit – the New Look manifesto, designed by Christian Dior for his first collection in 1947 [Photo provided to China Daily]

Lady Dior What I See, as part of the Dior and Art exhibition, held at an art center in Shanghai on Friday, has ruffled many feathers because of the way a Chinese woman was depicted in one of its posters.

What irked many was that the so-called Chinese model had freckled dark skin, gloomy squinted eyes, heavy dark makeup, long artificial nails, Qing armor and other distorted elements.

On social networking sites, many have also complained about the dark and gloomy look the entire poster conveyed. So strong was the public protest against Dior that it had to delete the poster from its official micro blog, China's equivalent to Twitter. Some argued that Dior is a French company whose aesthetic sense may be different from that of Chinese people. But the way the model was depicted is indicative of how people in the West see people in East Asia.

Lil Pump, a rapper in the United States, triggered a similar uproar in 2018 when he posted a song video containing racially offensive lyrics and a squinted-eye look. He had to ultimately apologize for the offensive video.

As a leading global brand, Dior should know how not to provoke Chinese and Asian people. Also, ordinary Chinese women do not sport long distorted nails. They were in fashion among a few rich Chinese women during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Why use an outdated style to project an image of Chinese women today?

Although Dior deleted the poster from its micro blog, the matter should not be given a quiet burial. Dior must issue a formal apology to the Chinese people, women in particular, or the consumers will teach it a lesson.


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