Netizens are not to be trifled with. Within hours of revealing their newest campaign film for its Sauvage Le Parfum fragrance, Dior had to remove it from Instagram in response to public backlash. Reason: Cultural appropriation. Sauvage (in French) literally translates to savage and wild. Hence, interest groups and Native Americans aren't thrilled with this association.
Despite Dior's careful research with Indigenous advocacy organisation Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) and its talents' proven ties to Native American ancestry, the general population still expressed its unsuitability and disapproval of this connection.
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Often, people leave the countryside for the city in search of a better life. But for this particular urban dweller, he leaves the city for nature and is stripped back to the bare essentials. Dior Parfums illustrates this move with a film directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and stars award-winning actor Johnny Depp with Native American heroes.
Titled We Are The Land, this film accompanies Dior's upcoming Sauvage Le Parfum which upholds the protagonist's spirit; that is, reflecting the portrait of a man on a quest for meaning in the American Far West. This adventure differs from Mondino and Depp's first episode for Dior Sauvage, the fragrance's predecessor—which also focused on leaving the city for the desert—as it's a journey that goes deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular discourse. There's also an emphasis on going back to one's roots.
For this project, the house of Dior also collaborated with Native American consultants from the 50-year old Indigenous advocacy organisation, Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), to ensure respect for indigenous cultures, values and heritage.
Set right in the heart of the Canyonlands, the ancestral land of the Utes, the Apaches and the Navajo peoples, it provides authentic inclusion of Native American cultures. As such, the film serves as a love letter to the spirit of a land that should be protected, cultures that should be celebrated, and to peoples that should be honoured. Indeed, a perfect embodiment of a Sauvage individual—manifested in three personalities.
Depp formed one body with the spirit of the film and the vision of Jean-Baptiste Mondino. As a founding member with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry of rock superband Hollywood Vampires, he claims his rock soul, with a guitar in hand. Focusing on Native American influence with the history of rock, Depp and legendary guitarist Jeff Beck performed the soundtrack for Sauvage, taking up the raging riffs of 'Rumble', composed by the great Link Wray. In addition, the track's re-orchestrated arrangement includes tribal rhythms.
Depp, who is already very involved with the Native American cause, also has ties with the Far West. His adoptive Comanche mother, LaDonna Harris, as well as her daughter, Laura Harris, are respectively president and executive director of the AIO.
Canku One Star
Every native tribe has their own unique dance. Canku One Star, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and a famous Fancy War Dancer, bears an impressive costume required for the warrior dance performed in Sauvage. By embodying the modernity of the Native American dances, he preserves his culture from the usual clichés. Specifically, through the image of this very physical warrior dance that tells of hand-to-hand fights and exploits on the battlefield by miming them.
How does this young Canadian actress identify with Sauvage? Although born in Vancouver, Canada, Beatty is a descendant of the Da’Naxda’xw Nation indigenous people of British Columbia. Also, she exemplifies Sauvage's febrile and sensual characteristics with her feminine presence. If you find Beatty familiar, she has appeared on various high-profile movies such as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and Hostiles with Christian Bale.
Sauvage Le Parfum launches in Singapore by November 2019.