Posted on March 21, 2013

Dior Accused of Runway ‘Racism’ by Major Casting Director Who Says ‘Pointedly White’ Catwalk Shows ‘Feel Deliberate’

Martha de Lacey, Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2013

Luxury fashion house Dior has been slammed by a major casting director for using only white models in their runway shows.

The brand’s creative director Raf Simons was criticised by James Scully who heads up model casting at Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Stella McCartney, Lanvin and Carolina Herrera.

Scully even commented that Simons’ message was similar to that of his predecessor John Galliano, who was accused of racism following a drunken, anti-Semitic rant outside a Parisian cafe in 2011.

Speaking to James Lim on BuzzFeed, Scully said: ‘I feel the Dior cast is just so pointedly white that it feels deliberate. 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 [Dior designer] Raf Simons sends the same message. I don’t know what the difference is. If I were at Dior tomorrow, there would be black girls in that show.’

Scully went on to accuse further houses–Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Chanel–of not being racially diverse enough, saying that in his opinion ‘the more diverse, the better’.

The influential casting director also commented that Calvin Klein avoided getting ‘into trouble’ through ‘tokenism’: casting one black girl but no more.

Other casting directors backed him up. John Pfeiffer, who casts models for Michael Kors, Bottega Veneta, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Victoria’s Secret, said that diversity is extremely important, but that ‘when you see one black girl and one Asian girl in a show casting, obviously there’s tokenism’.