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Yves-Saint Laurent’s “Quiet Revolution” Rages On In Jourdan Dunn Campaign

18 Jan

Hugely influential French luxury brand Yves-Saint Laurent continues to step in the right direction with its newest ad campaign featuring British model Jourdan Dunn. Shot by fashion photographer Terry Richardson, Dunn appears as the newest face of YSL’s cosmetics line in the brand’s “Touche Eclat Lumiere” highlighter ad campaign.

While the ad itself is visually-arresting, showcasing the radiant Dunn smokey-eyed and bare-shouldered against a decadent golden textile, it is also an extremely optimistic indicator of things to come both for the brand and the industry at-large.

Credited as the first major designer to frankly address race issues within the fashion industry, Yves-Saint Laurent sparked a “quiet French Revolution” nearly 50 years ago by featuring the first black models to appear on Paris runways and high-fashion print campaigns. Opening doors for the careers of models such as Iman, Pat Cleveland, Tyra Banks, and Veronica Webb, the late couturier was also cited by Naomi Campbell in 2008 as the driving force behind her groundbreaking French Vogue cover.

Twenty year-old Jordan Dunn is no stranger to facing race issues within the fashion industry herself. In 2008, a then 17 year-old Dunn made headlines as the first black runway model to walk in a Prada show in over a decade, and has since worked to bring attention to the lack of diverse racial and ethnic representation in the industry.

Yves-Saint Laurent not only challenged beauty standards by including a racially diverse cast of models, but also considered women of all colors when designing his line of high-end cosmetics.

Jordan Dunn’s appearance in the “Touche Eclat Lumiere” cosmetics campaign is hopeful proof that Yves-Saint Laurent’s vision — one of racial-inclusivity and accessibility for all women — is successfully being implemented in his brand even after his passing. Those participating in the industry should hope to see design houses and luxury brands following in YSL’s path, ultimately aspiring to a climate reflective of the multitude of colors their habitués come in.