The Dior men’s collection celebrated Black talent in a really authentic way. For spring ’21 Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones teamed up with Ghanaian-born, self-taught artist Amoako Boafo.
The result, titled ‘Portrait of an Artist,’ was unveiled today during Paris Men’s Fashion Week Online in the form of a film. And while, thus far, brands’ efforts have been somewhat mixed, Dior really wrote the playbook on how to communicate a concept via the medium.
The beautifully shot short introduces the self-taught artist in his own words. He creates impasto portraits via finger painting and is shown at work in his studio in Ghana. In the first part of the film, Jones explains how the collaboration came about while the second part presents key looks from the collection, notably on an all Black cast.
“I love his work and I’d wanted to work with an African artist for some time,” says Jones, adding that African art has always been important to him as he spent his formative years living in the continent — across Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana.
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The project was born after the two men met in Miami in 2019.
The starting point, says Jones, was a Dior dress from the house’s archives featuring an ivy print. He recounted how Boafo then showed him one of his own portraits — a man dressed in a shirt printed with a similar motif. The collection took shape from these dual inspirations, using textures prints, motifs and colors present in Boafo’s oeuvre.
Art and Africa aside, Jones and Boafo have another shared interest. Boafo’s work is concerned with the idea of black masculinity and from the start of his tenure at Dior, Jones has set out to explore the masculine identity, translating feminine archival references into his contemporary Dior Men wardrobe. In fact, for his very first show, he dressed Bella Hadid in a custom version of one of his men’s suits. And his reissues of the classic Dior Saddle Bag have proved popular with clients of both sexes.
Footwear drew on the idea of texture as well with combat boots embossed with the Dior logo and a Dior take on the popular Teva style sandal. Jones also reimagined his transparent sneaker with a yellow logo print to match Boafo’s earthy shades. Just like the garments and new season Saddle Bag, their unisex vibe is sure to appeal to women just as much as to men.
Going forward, Dior has pledged to support a Ghanian art initiative spearheaded by Amoako Boafo. Established to the tale of the furture for the creation of a place of residence for young artists.