Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior photoshoot is taking heat for cultural appropriation


Jennifer Lawrence and Dior have been accused of cultural appropriation for recent Escaramuza-inspired collection.

Avant-garde brand Dior and actress Jennifer Lawrence have been stirring up some attention in a troubling way recently. After Dior revealed its new collection, people are pointing out that Jennifer Lawrence might not have been the most mindful choice to represent the fashion choices. Given that the collection is overtly influenced by Mexican culture, the choice to put Lawrence at the forefront of the campaign appears to appropriate the cultural significance behind the fashion collection.

The Dior Cruise 2019 collection was designed to pay homage to women horseback riders. As Quartzy notes, escaramuza charra inspired the collection. In the traditional Mexican equestrian sport, escaramuza, women don detailed dresses complete with lace trim, as well as embroidered designs.

Though there are women equestrians worldwide, the sport was popularized in Mexico. These influences aren’t subtle in the production of the collection. Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s first woman creative director, helmed the 2019 Dior Cruise collection that first debuted in the Diorodeo fashion show. From the collection’s ideation, Grazia Chiuri designed the apparel and show to replicate the fashion found in escaramuza charra.

The Diorodeo show in May opened and concluded with an escaramuza team of eight women. However, individuals believe choosing Lawrence as the face of the collection might have squandered the collection’s intentions to respect the sport and the culture of the sport.

Even during her interview with Dior, Lawrence acknowledges the cultural significance behind the campaign. “One of the main inspirations for this collection is the traditional women riders of Mexico. So I’m really excited that this collection is looking at and celebrating these women’s heritage through such a modern lens,” Lawrence says.

However, co-star of the 2 Dope Queens podcast Phoebe Robinson notes the hypocrisy and apathy behind Lawrence’s statement. In an Instagram caption of Lawrence’s Dior interview, Robinson states that the photo shoot should have gone to a Mexican actress or model, who could celebrate the campaign as it was intended.

Robinson points out that apparent disconnect between Lawrence’s words and her actions. Lawrence seems aware of the cultural importance behind escaramuza riders and the designs in the Dior collection. However, Lawrence participating in the campaign, when she has no connection to Mexican culture or the escaramuza charra sport, is why many celebrities and social media users are pointing out the cultural appropriation in the photoshoot itself.

While escaramuza riders wear a variety of designs, they all have a typical one: a fit-and-flare dress that often falls past the knee. At the end of the dresses, they’re typically complete with tiered ruffled designs. Once Dior unveiled its photoshoot from the Cruise collection, social media users started noticing the similarities between the classic escaramuza attire and Lawrence’s dress.

According to Haute Living, the 2019 Dior Cruise collection also houses Dior Saddle Bag designs. The bag’s catch-all name hints at the equestrian sport that inspired the entire collection. In the photoshoot, Lawrence seems to be holding a tote bag; however, the patchwork appliques that lines its leather appear reminiscent of traditional Mayan designs and embroidered designs that are frequently sewn into saddle harnesses in escaramuza charra.

During Christian Dior’s Spring 2018 Couture event, Grazia Chiruri curated a feminist show. Vogue adds that black and white design comprised the Spring 2018 collection, which nodded to the #MeToo and Time’s Up protests, where allies wore black to award event. Despite Dior’s pivot to these movements during its Spring 2018 show, the 2019 Dior Cruise collection could have been more successful if they had kept the same respectful energy and hired a Mexican actress or model as the face of the campaign. A few possibilities shared on social media include Salma Hayek or Ximena Navarrete.

Granted, this isn’t the first time Dior has been accused of cultural appropriation. Metro adds that Romanians noticed the company copied traditional Bihor clothing in its pre-fall collection. People in Bihor communities retaliated by creating the own brand of Bihor couture.

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As people continue to voice their concerns over Jennifer Lawrence’s involvement in the 2019 Dior Cruise collection, hopefully, Dior will listen to these concerns in future designs and photoshoots.