Givenchy’s spring 2014 campaign is not like most typical ad campaigns released by luxury labels. It’s not because Riccardo Tisci’s creations have a very distinguishable allure, though it’s undeniably part of its appeal. Instead, the new campaign stands out from many others of the sort because it features exclusively women of color. The star of the new Givenchy campaign is Erykah Badu who shows off the luxury label’s coolest pieces from the label’s spring 2014 collection, which combines Japanese and African influences, alongside models Maria Borges, Asia Chow and Eboni Riley.
Speaking about the singer, the designer expressed his enormous admiration for her style: “Erykah, she’s an icon—come on. She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life. She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors,” he told Style.com. Though the new campaign seems as a direct response to the issue of runway diversity, a problem that was emphasized right before the spring 2014 Fashion Week, it’s not how the designer sees his new initiative.
In fact, he stated that he was one of the people who were least affected by lack of diversity accusations: “There was a lot of talk this season in fashion. I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I’ve always been supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we are all the same.”
Although he’s not contributing to the problem, he does feel that lack of diversity is a real problem, which he hopes will be solved eventually. “At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.”, the designer said.
It will definitely be interesting to see this campaign in its entirety, along with Rick Owens’ spring 2014 campaign as his spring-summer collection was another one which revealed the support for the cause, featuring real women of different races, body types and sizes. It will certainly be interesting to see whether other labels will follow their lead.