Paris – From hygienic products to haute couture, femvertising is no new phenomenon: case in point, Edward Bernays' 1929 'Torches of Freedom' campaign for Lucky Strike. That year, Bernays hired a group of women to light up their 'torches' at NYC's Easter Sunday parade, and, with some advantageous next-day coverage from The New York Times, smoking women were destigmatized, cigarettes became a feminist symbol and the men in charge laughed all the way to the bank.
Two years later, an Italian artist and poet by the name of Bianca Pucciarelli Menna was born in Salerno – by the 1970s, she had become Tomaso Binga. The change was a provocation, her way of pointing out the fallacy in men having more privileges than women. Her artistic – and thus, political – identity became a life-long protest: in February, it was Binga – not Menna – at the core of the scenography at the Bureau Betak-produced-and-directed Dior ready-to-wear show at the Musée Rodin in Paris.
In September 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first RTW collection as Dior’s creative director featured t-shirts branded with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists. One year later, she followed with Breton-striped tops bearing Linda Nochlin’s Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Every show since, in garment and set design, has explored or referenced the legacy of the creative women who have inspired Chiuri’s design process.