"I feel the Dior cast is just so pointedly white that it feels deliberate," James Scully, the casting director for Tom Ford and Lanvin says. "I watch that show and it bothers me — I almost can't even concentrate on the clothes because of the cast. And recently they're changing from a very diverse, worldwide, multicultural cast to just a very Germanic-looking white girl. Natalie Portman could complain that John Galliano was a racist, but I feel Raf Simons sends the same message. I don't know what the difference is."
Another casting director, Leila Ananna, offers a different perspective. She believes that, "a model is a model and that's it. To me, if we want to talk about diversity, it's about the model and not the color of their skin." She claims that having an Asian model or black model walk down the runway to just have them there can often receive the same backlash as white-washing the cast. She suggests that people can see through "tokenism."
True, Raf doesn't cast the shows himself, but he still has to approve the lineup...and he is also the current face of the Dior creative. Based on numbers alone, Simons' Dior is considerably less diverse than Galliano's, whose shows were quite ethnically expansive — often, they were one of the most varied of the season — during his reign. Perhaps this is because Simons employs the same casting directors, Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes, responsible for the notoriously all-white model ensembles for Jil Sander and Calvin Klein. However, we need to consider the idea that the practices of runway fashion isn't the only thing we need to be examining.
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