Jorja Smith, the English singer who stole peoples’ hearts with her single “On My Mind,” has quickly become the fashion industry’s latest muse.
Last week, Dior had quite the week in New York City: The brand celebrated a pop-up store opening in the Meatpacking District on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Smith sang at the brand’s annual pre-party gala at the Guggenheim, wearing a custom black, hand-sequined mini-dress. The same evening, Smith took the red carpet in a red tulle skirt and sleeveless bustier-top gown. The next day, she wore a champagne-colored tulle gown for Dior’s dinner at the museum. All three looks were custom-made for her by Grazia Chiuri herself.
“Jorja represents my idea of the Dior woman because she’s young [and] is incredibly focused on her goals, and [she] isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard,” Grazia Chiuri told British Vogue in an interview. “She is a singer and performer, [so] we were thinking about her body and the way she moves around on stage,” she said of the outfits she designed. “At the same time, we wanted to combine this idea of movement with the Dior codes. The result is three dresses that epitomize the definition of contemporary femininity, and update the meaning of elegance and grace based on Jorja’s [type of] performance.”
Of the gowns, Grazia Chiuri wanted to capture all of the different parts of Smith’s style. “I didn’t want elegance and sensuality to conflict each other, but for [those qualities] to enable Jorja to express all the different facets of her personality,” she said. “This is why even the colors [of the dresses] are different: blush, red, and black, all key in the Dior palette, and each one with its own significance.”
Smith’s emergence as a fashion muse represents a broader shift towards diversity within the industry at-large. Smith, a daughter of a Jamaican father and an English mother, is bi-racial. That fact alone sets her apart from the majority of her peers, which she reflected on in a recent interview with The Cut, where she discussed the issue of colorism. The multiplicity of Smith’s background and, thus, vantage point, comes through in her work, and has set her up as an influential artist for the millennial generation.
Smith says of Grazia Chiuri’s work as a designer: “Maria Grazia really listens and considers the comfort of a woman’s body, both on the red carpet and onstage,” adding, “[Dior is] really tuned in with young creatives and what we want at the moment, both in terms of fashion and beauty.”