THE ART OF GETTING DRESSED_
Dior Men’s powerful collab with Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo isn’t meant for a gallery wall—it’s meant to be worn
With any luck, in a few years we’ll get a really good heist movie about a group of lovable misfits with their sights set on one last score. While someone—is Brosnan available?—does their best Thomas Crown–inspired voice-over, the camera will slowly zoom out from the target. Swaths of color will resolve into recognizable shapes. An eye. A nose. A face. Damn right, folks, it’s a...sweater? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. When most folks hear “art,” they think of paintings. Daubs of acrylic on canvas. Water lilies. You know . . . art. But these days some of the most exciting stuff coming out of the fine-art world isn’t meant to hang on a wall—it’s meant to be worn. Take the work of Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, whose powerful, partly finger-painted portraits of Black figures appear in the Dior Men spring/summer 2021 collection. Boafo’s on the kind of meteoric rise only the art world can create. A few years ago, he was selling works for $100 in Accra. Last year, in London, one of his paintings fetched nearly $1 million at auction. He’s poised to be one of his generation’s superstars. And as for Dior Men artistic director Kim Jones? This is the guy who, after melting the faces off fashion fans and hypebeasts alike with the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collab during his stint at LV, turned his current fashion house into one of the most buzzed-about labels on the planet by teaming up with partners like Jordan Brand and Shawn Stussy to create covetable, collectorcatnip pieces for each successive season of his tenure. Imagine getting in early on Basquiat and doing it with a stamp of approval from one of the fashion world’s most masterful collaborators. Sounds pretty damn good, right? Even if the idea of “fashion as art” conjures images of out-there clothes that you can’t imagine yourself wearing—or, worse, badly printed van Goghs on cheap souvenir T-shirts—this collection is proof that, done right, the fusion of art and fashion isn’t just wearable; it’s extremely cool. And though the partnership isn’t the first of its sort in modern men’s wear—just look to Jones’s prior work with Raymond Pettibon, Raf Simons’s beloved alliance with Sterling Ruby, or, hell, Vans’ ongoing team-up with MoMA—it’s especially vital in this moment. Both the fashion and contemporary-art worlds are in the midst of reckoning with their overwhelming whiteness. Boafo, in his portraiture, is celebrating Blackness, and his collaborative pieces with Dior Men give people an opportunity to bring that celebration into their everyday lives. If that’s not the sort of thing worthy of a high-powered heist, I’m not sure what is.