This is not the first time that the artistic director of Dior Homme, Briton Kim Jones, working with artists from other genres. In 2019 already, the designer had made a call to the japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama, and then turned to KAWS aka Brian Donnelly for the spring/summer collection of the same year. Between romanticism, futurism and street art, the one who made the bet to revolutionize the men's wardrobe from the prestigious fashion house has taken a turn of 360°, working with the ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo for the new Dior homme collection, presented Monday, July 13, in a film on the last day of the Fashion week digital in Paris. And this is not a coincidence, Kim Jones grew up in Africa. It, therefore, appears in this period of global awareness as one of the few designers to appear to be in phase with the movement Black Lives Matter.
Dior homme collection Spring-Summer 2021. © Dior
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Amoako Boafo, the ghanaian artist who climbs
If the name Amoako Boafo means nothing to you, don't panic. This Ghanaian of 36 years is one of the rising stars in the art market, with his paintings of silhouettes of haute couture ", which is subtly tapered and clean ", points out Dior in a press release. Based in Vienna since 2014, and represented by the american gallery Mariane Ibrahim, Amoako Boafo painted with his fingers portraits of black men who have a "sense of style". But not only that. One of his works, The Lemon Bathing Suit (2019), representing a woman lying in a swimsuit printed lemon, has been sold for 675 000 pounds or 743 522 euro, "a figure thirteen times and a half higher than his initial estimate," says the auction house Phillips, London. And all this success is very recent, since the two most important sales were made in 2020. That's not a problem, his work has challenged the creator, briton Kim Jones, who has decided to draw inspiration for its new collection. The two men had met at the Rubell Museum Miami, in front of which Dior had organized its last parade Cruise.
Amoako Boafo, The Lemon Bathing Steps. 2019. © Courtesy of Phillips
The strong ties of Kim Jones with Africa
Dior has placed at the center of the film that he describes as the artist, "which explores the perception of black identity and masculinity," in reference to the series, the most famous of the painter, the Black Diaspora, a celebration of identity black. The collection of Dior titled "Portrait of an artist" mixes parts of sportswear chic with jackets and coats to the cuts sophisticated, color pearl grey iconic Dior with a touch of flashy pink, yellow, or green is born of the fusion of these two worlds creative the video shows unexpected affinities. "I love his work, I've always wanted to work with an african artist because I grew up in Africa and african art has always been part of my life," explains Kim Jones in the film. The strong man of Dior has spent a large part of his childhood in several countries on the african continent such as Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya or Ghana, of which it retains strong memories.
Create real living portraits
Since 2019, Kim Jones has started an artistic dialogue quite unheard of with Amoako Boafo. When he goes in the studio of the young artist in Ghana, he discovered a photograph depicting a man wearing a shirt decorated with a printed ivy, emblematic of the French house. "From there, we had the idea to use the textures, prints, patterns and colors of his works in order to create true living portraits," says the british designer. This idea was initially intended for a parade that did not take place because of a health crisis, but the film was allowed to talk more about the artist, " of his life, of his subjects and his portraits ", points out Kim Jones.
The video of the last Dior homme collection was unveiled online Monday, the last day of the first edition in digital format only of the Paris men's Fashion Week. © Dior
A film as a support
the first part of The 10-minute film is shot in the workshop of Amoako Boafo who puts on gloves and pose with her fingers big splashes of colour : "The brown umber, blue, yellow, red. I do magic with it." "I love fashion, I tend to look for people that have a certain sense of style ", he says pointing to the portrait of a model wearing a tailor blue sky painted on a yellow background. "I like to paint portraits that are simple for people to enter the expression of the character ". At the intersection of contemporary art and documentary, the film is presented in two parts : in the first edited by the video artist Chris Cunningham with footage shot in London and Ghana and a second conducted by Jackie Nickerson revealing the outfits of Kim Jones.
A window mode for the movement Black Lives Matter
If the presentation of the Dior haute couture a week ago in a movie by Italian director Matteo Garrone has been criticised for its lack of diversity, this collection man of the house French luxury is worn exclusively by mannequins black.
Dior homme collection Spring-Summer 2021. © Dior
with the opening of the July 6, this year's Fashion week in paris in a video, the top model british Naomi Campbell, against racial discrimination, calling for the industry to learn the lessons of the anti-racism movement Black Lives Matter " and "imposing" in the parades. The response to the luxury industry to these issues of racial and societal has taken a long time to emerge.
The young brand Botter, founded by the couple Dutch Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, bound by their origins to the Caribbean, have made Friday their presentation an overt anti-racist. "It is the collection the more complicated to try to express our vision humble, but positive about the movement Black Lives Matter" resonates the voice of Lisi Herrebrugh on a black background. "We are against racism, ignorance and lack of empathy ". "We must all believe that it is possible for us to unite against the violence against the black community," related the voice of Rushemy Kick before a few images of models in black, wearing outfits of white collar or white wire.
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