There's bad and then there's gasp-out-loud, cringe-so-hard, ask-rhetorically-how-on-Earth-anyone-thought-this-was-a-good-idea bad. A new Dior campaign for its men's fragrance Sauvage is, well, the latter.
Touted as being "an authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding, and secular territory" — which, what — the online ad campaign prominently features a Native American spirit dancer. Again, this perfume is called Sauvage.
Dior also released an extended version of the campaign earlier this month. In that video, the spirit dancer also appears, as does Johnny Depp, who is serving as the face of the campaign. A woman wearing a wolf skin (???) peeks through some bushes while Depp plays his guitar on the top of the canyon. "We are the land," he says at the end. Yikes!
The bad judgment somehow doesn't end there. The ad copy also uses outdated, offensive language, claiming that the perfume "[melds] extreme freshness with warm oriental tones."
On Instagram, perhaps anticipating trouble, Dior wrote that its video was made in "close collaboration [with] Native American consultants from the 50-year old Indigenous advocacy organization" Americans for Indian Opportunity. Still, the fashion industry has a long history of inappropriate and offensive cultural appropriations, a trend that even the famed French fashion house hasn't managed to avoid. Last year, Dior was slammed for an ad campaign that pulled heavily from Mexican culture but featured, inexplicably, Jennifer Lawrence as its model. In 2011, former Dior head designer John Galliano was caught on video saying "I love Hitler" and making racist comments to diners in a Paris café.