The latest Christian Dior men’s perfume ‘Sauvage,’ an apparent iteration of the longtime scent from the Paris fashion and perfume house, features an ad with Johnny Depp that is seen as appropriating Native American culture to illustrate and describe the scent, which in English translates to savage.
Though not all see this ad and Depp’s portrayal as cultural appropriation. Still, Depp, who has claimed Native ancestry, is being mocked and denounced as is French perfumery Dior.
With widespread criticism for the ad campaign, Dior claims it collaborated with Americans for Indian Opportunity to “ensure respect for indigenous cultures, values and heritage.”
But the group is headed by LaDonna Harris who is reported to have “adopted Johnny Depp into the Comanche Nation before he played Tonto in 2013’s reboot of The Lone Ranger.”
It should be noted that Dior pulled the film trailer and then, on Friday Sept. 13, Dior pulled the plug on the whole campaign.
“The House of Dior has long been committed to promoting diversity and has no tolerance for discrimination in any form. Recently, a film trailer for the Sauvage fragrance was posted on social media and immediately withdrawn. We are deeply sorry for any offense caused by this new advertising campaign, which was meant to be a celebration of the beauty, dignity, and grace of the contemporary Native American culture. As a consequence, we have decided not to release this version of the campaign.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Dior Says Its Parfum is ‘An Authentic Journey Deep Into the Native American Soul in a Sacred, Founding & Secular Territory,’ Starring Johnny Depp
Dior marketeers say the scent is an “authentic journey into the Native American soul.”
Comments are disabled on the YouTube video directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and starring Depp; “The adventure of a man who claims his rock soul and connects with his deeper nature.”
The parfum created by Dior’s François Demachy was inspired by “unspoiled expanses of wilderness beneath a blue-tinged night sky, as the intense aromas of a crackling fire rise into the air.”
A story in Esquire notes that Dior collaborated with Native American consultants.
“Set right in the heart of the Canyonlands, the ancestral land of the Utes, the Apaches and the Navajo peoples, it provides authentic inclusion of Native American cultures. As such, the film serves as a love letter to the spirit of a land that should be protected, cultures that should be celebrated, and to peoples that should be honoured. Indeed, a perfect embodiment of a Sauvage individual—manifested in three personalities.”
Depp’s “adoptive Comanche mother” Harris, and her daughter Laura Harris are president and executive director of the AIO, which “partnered” with Depp and Dior.
Harris “adopted” Depp in 2012. And then defended his casting as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.
Depp’s Involvement Notwithstanding, Dior is Being Condemned For Associating a Perfume Called Savage With Native Americans
“Dior announced their Indigenous themed fragrance called “Sauvage” with Johnny Depp as their spokesmodel for it. Very cologne-ial of them.”
One twitter user said, “Dior calling a perfume ‘Sauvage’, and having Johnny Depp dressed as an Indigenous shaman as the face of the campaign is problematic is so many ways it is painful to think about.”
“Yeaaahhhh, doesn’t help. I can’t get behind pan-indigenous “representation” or putting Johnny Depp (who isn’t indigenous and is an abuser) at the face of this.”
Another: “What the fuck do Native Americans have to do with Dior or its Johnny Depp cologne? How is a territory sacred and secular? I’m so confused.”
Dior Joins the List of Fashion Houses With Cultural Appropriation & Racism Problems
“Dior collaborated with Johnny Depp to make a perfume and called is “sauvage” …to honour ??? Indigenous peoples??”
As noted in a 2018 piece by the BBC, designer Isabel Marant was criticized for stealing traditional Mexican costumes for her designs. In 2016, Gucci had white models wearing “Sikh-style turbans.” Vogue outfitted Karlie Kloss as a geisha, and in 2018, Kendall Jenner wore an Afro.
And in the past year, there’s been no shortage of seemingly rampant racism in fashion.
H&M put a black toddler in a hoodie with a monkey in a jungle.
Which inexplicably has been repeated.
Dolce & Gabbana’s huge misstep in its ads showing an Asian woman wearing D&G struggling to eat cannoli and pizza with chop sticks, followed by Stepano Gabbana’s racist response and then, D&G’s apologies ad nauseam.
Prada’s blackface caricature figurines.
Gucci’s blackface sweater.
And then there was Burberry’s hoodie and noose runway.
And so on.