Chinese Protesters Claim Christian Dior Stole Ming Dynasty Design
Protesting Chinese students say fashion house Christian Dior has ripped off a classic skirt design from China that dates back to the Ming dynasty.
Dozens of Chinese students took to the streets of Paris on Saturday, protesting outside the Christian Dior store on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and threatening to hold similar events in New York and London, according to social media posts. social media and live footage of the protest on Weibo and Wechat.
The posts garnered some 500,000 views, but the protest in Paris was stopped by local police within 10 minutes, according to a report by Women’s Wear Daily.
At issue is a $3,800 black pleated skirt from Dior’s fall collection which the fashion house says was inspired by school uniforms, but which Chinese protesters say tears up a traditional design in China called Mamian or Horse Face Skirt which was popular in the Ming Dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1644.
A key difference between the Dior skirt and the Mamian skirt is that the Chinese version is floor-length while Dior’s is knee-length. Nonetheless, protesters demanded that Dior stop selling the skirt in its Paris boutique, holding signs saying “Dior, stop cultural appropriation” and “This is a traditional Chinese dress”.
“The so-called Dior silhouette is very similar to the Chinese skirt with the head of a horse. While many details are identical, why is it shamelessly called “new design” and “distinctive silhouette of Dior”? according to an editorial in People’s Daily, a publication run by the Chinese government.
The wrap skirt has pleated fabric on each side and four side slits, which were used for riding centuries ago.
Christian Dior Hong Kong’s website describes the “flared skirt” in “pleated style” as “a signature Dior silhouette, the midi skirt…updated with a new sleek and modern variation,” according to the South China Morning. Post.
The fashion house did not immediately respond for comment.
Dior also crossed paths with Chinese fashionistas last year when it was accused of co-opting photos from a famous and controversial Chinese fashion photographer, Chen Man. At an art exhibition in Shanghai, Dior displayed one of the photographer’s works that had been criticized for perpetuating Western stereotypes of Asian faces.
Earlier this month, Dior sparked controversy in Rome by accusing rival design house Valentino of blocking foot traffic to the Dior boutique in Rome where Valentino held a fashion show.
Dior demanded around $100,000 for its lost sales, but later withdrew its claim.