Fashion
  • Text Finn Blythe
  • 13th July 2020

Portrait of Amoako Boafo

Throughout his career, Kim Jones has made travel his creative signature, imbuing collections with lived experience of distant lands and foreign customs. For his SS21 Dior collection, Jones looked to Africa, a continent he traveled widely throughout his youth, and specifically Ghana, home to portrait artist Amoako Boafo.

Jones first encountered Boafo’s work in Miami last year, where the artist’s lucid use of colour immediately caught his eye. Baofo’s work is not so much an inspiration for Jones’ latest collection as its central foundation, with paintings from the Accra-born artist transposed directly onto garments. Isolated on single-colour backgrounds, with bold, gestural finger strokes (instead of a brush), Boafo’s paintings challenge notions of masculinity and presents new approaches to blackness.

Referencing those tactile surfaces, Jones’ collection emphasises texture and three-dimensionality. Fabrics are printed and layered, ribbed knits incorporate jacquard patterns and embroidered knitwear give the appearance of a painted canvas. In collaboration with Jones, Boafo’s exquisite works are brought to life, highlighting Dior’s dedication to bridging art and fashion, Africa and Europe.

Combining the rich textile history of Boafo’s native Ghana with a distinctive Frenchness (Mariniere stripes, embroidery on tulle), the collection succeeds in celebrating disparate identities and cultural conversations. In an accompanying film by British video artist Chris Cunningham (Aphex Twin’s key collaborator), we are shown inside Boafo’s Ghana studio, while a second from Jackie Nickerson unveils Jones’ creations.