Rihanna's Dior campaign is about so much more than just fashion
In case you missed it, Rihanna is officially the newest spokesmodel for Dior — making her the first ever woman of color to represent the brand in its almost 70-year history. Last week, Rihanna teased a few (gorgeous, flawless, etc) photos of her first ad campaign with the brand on Instagram; and now, Dior has officially released the latest video from its “Secret Garden” series, featuring the singer strutting around Versailles like the high fashion queen that she is.
Rihanna’s wardrobe in the video runs the gamut from a backless red gown to a sequin-covered long-sleeved dress, all of which she wears while traipsing around the palace’s Hall of Mirrors and expansive gardens. To top it all off, the whole thing is set to the unreleased Only If For A Night, the intro track to Rihanna’s highly-anticipated forthcoming album, rumored to be titled R8.
The significance of the campaign is not to be underestimated, and it’s awesome to see a prominent brand like Dior make an active effort to diversify its ambassadors. However, as the New York Times points out, the brand is a little behind on its efforts (“Since 2006, Versace, Gucci, Armani, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Balmain, and Calvin Klein have all featured people of color as the face of their brands.”).
Rihanna, herself, has acknowledged the importance of the campaign. “It feels fantastic. It is such a big deal for me, for my culture, for a lot of young girls of any color,” she told MTV News. “I think to be acknowledged by Dior means a lot, as a woman, to feel beautiful — to feel elegant and timeless.”
Featuring diversity of all kinds in popular media has never been as essential.
The lack of diverse representation in fashion extends well beyond a brand’s ambassadors, as well. As reported by The Fashion Spot, 80% of models who walked during fashion week for Fall 2015 were white. In comparison, 7.4% were Black, 7.4% Asian, 2.9% Latina, 0.2% Middle-Eastern, and 2.1% Other. The Fashion Spot has also found that white models appeared on the cover of fashion magazines five times more than women of color last year — which is not an insignificant number. It is essential that we challenge why this is the case, and why, by and large, the fashion landscape features such a narrow range of beauty.
By featuring a more diverse range of models, fashion brands can help reshape and expand society’s ideas of what’s beautiful. Rihanna’s Dior campaign is significant because every woman deserves to see someone they can identify with, portrayed in a a positive and glamorous light.
Check out some of the images from the campaign:
For more images from Secret Garden, head over to Vogue.