Why Dior's Spring 2018 Show Is Sparking Feminist Controversy

by Stephanie Maida · September 27, 2017

Ever since her debut collection for the house last September, Dior's first-ever female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, has, quite literally, woven feminist statements into fashion. When she sent a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "We should all be feminists," down the runway, most of the world (and the front row crowd in particular) was still high on Hillary, expecting to soon become the first generation to see a woman in the White House. Everyone wanted something fierce and feminist on their tee, but shortly thereafter, once people were forced to refocus, criticism of the commodification of the movement arose. After all, the shirt, inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, costs $710.

But the designer will not be deterred. Yesterday in Paris, Chiuri made an even bolder move, opening her Spring 2018 show with Sasha Pivovarova and a striped top that reads "Why have there been no great women artists?" While the knee-jerk reaction is, of course, "WTF? INDEED THERE HAVE BEEN!" the subversive statement needs to be put into context, and Chiuri made sure to provide it.

Guests at the show (one of the most exclusive during Paris Fashion Week, we might add), received copies of the shirt's namesake, a 1971 essay by art historian Linda Nochlin, which famously points out the patriarchal snubbing of women in the art world. While the statement itself seems like a misogynist judgment call by some angry Google employee, it is indeed a reference to a powerful moment in feminist history.

But that doesn't mean it's being praised on all sides, even, and especially, within the feminist community. Some Twitter users are honing in on the phrase itself, asking "how did this get approved?" Others, who acknowledge the reference and its deeper meaning, are even more critical, calling it "appropriation" of the seminal text. Instagram It Girl Paris Sanders referred to the piece as a "pseudo political product at [a price] only for the astronomically wealthy," and, we mean, she's certainly not wrong about that last part.

While Nochlin reportedly approved usage of the phrase, and gave Dior her blessing, we suspect that this conversation will be continuing for a while. Then again, that just could have been Chiuri's intention all along.

[Photo via @backstagebombshell]

Feedback