The left is really going to hyperventilate once they realize during World War Two Christian Dior, along with most French designers, made dresses for the wives of literal Nazis in occupied France. The fashion house that carries his name has come under attack for ‘racism’ and ‘cultural appropriation,’ after running an ad for its Sauvage perfume that featured overly flattering depictions of Native Americans.
Fortunately, anyone who’d get upset by this can’t afford Dior, so the idea of a boycott never occurred to them, but the online left screamed regardless, causing Dior to remove the ad from Twitter.
Not only is Johnny Depp, the star of the ad, allegedly part Native American, but Dior made an honest attempt to be culturally sensitive when they created the advertisement, employing Native American actors and advisers to the campaign. The result was as tedious and sincere as you’d expect: a man in Native dress dancing on rock while Depp plays the guitar, with some hot Native woman lurking around. The word ‘sauvage’ in French isn’t even a direct translation of ‘savage,’ and means ‘wild,’ or ‘natural.’ It can also mean ‘gamy’ or ‘earthy.’
That’s the most depressing part. For a moment, it seemed fashion was daring to become irreverent, snobbish, charmingly insensitive and full of absurdities again. If the fashion industry is going to culturally appropriate, they should go out of their way to ensure the campaign is particularly heartless and aloof – Baltimore bloodbath chic, gays in sealskins harpooning whales, the IDF, blonde transgender Amazonian headhunters, Gigi Hadid in a diamond-studded sombrero scaling a gilded border wall.
That was more the spirit during fashion’s golden years, beginning with Diana Vreeland heading up Vogue. Vreeland started off writing an advice column in Harper’s in 1936 titled ‘Why Don’t You,’ where entries included, ‘Have a furry elk-kid trunk for the back of your car’ and ‘Wash your blonde child’s hair in dead champagne, as they do in France.’
‘A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika,’ she once said. ‘We all need a splash of bad taste – it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.’
It’s a good thing the woman who said she spent her entire life pursuing, unsuccessfully, the perfect shade of red, which she described as roughly ‘the color of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait,’ isn’t alive to see the corporate banality that would consume the industry under her distant predecessor at Vogue, only made worse when fashion surrenders to the filthy hordes of social justice. Vreeland’s memos to the staff were so legendary, they’ve all been compiled into a book, and it’s really entertaining. Anna Wintour, on the other hand, thinks she’s being clever when reporters ask her about Melania Trump’s style and she responds with comments about how wonderful Michelle Obama is. That’s the paramount of bitchiness from the most powerful woman in fashion? What a sad world.
Vreeland once asked, ‘where would fashion be without literature?’ Today the industry is indistinguishable from any other soulless global commodity steeped in neoliberalism. Everywhere we look, the left’s domination of culture has killed beauty, flippancy, and a passion for discovery, all traits that once defined the fashion industry. If that’s not enough, they can’t help themselves but continue to beat the corpse of American culture as punishment for the tiniest infractions, like putting a feather headdress in a perfume ad.
Perhaps Vreeland saw it coming decades ago. ‘The West is boring itself to death. And talking itself to death,’ she said.