On Monday evening, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her Cruise 2020 collection for Christian Dior in Marrakech, at the Palais El Badi.
The venue is a ancient fortress surrounded by terracotta colonnades from the 16th century. The runway was set in the courtyard, where the models walked around the epic pool alight with hundred of torches above the surface and a giant bonfires lighting up the Moroccan night.
This was a collection close to the heart of Chiuri, rather than simply being inspired by the continent of Africa as a whole, it was a cultural exchange between Dior aesthetics and the African craftsmanship she has always admired. The designer invited artists and artisans from different backgrounds and African cultures to work jointly with her and open a dialogue between them.
“With this collection, she sought dialogue with the real and imagined landscape of Morocco, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, as a dream destination for artists, poets, writers and eternal adventurers.” Dior explained in a statement.
Focusing on the wax fabric “the fabric of a cultural melting pot”, she worked with Grosfilley and Uniwax. “In this moment, there’s a lot of focus on cultural appropriation, but I think we have to explain how craftsmanship travels around the world; why it’s often so difficult to find the ‘real’ reference,” she said, referring to the pan-African Wax print fabrics that characterised the collection.
She also collaborated with British-Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner and African-American artist Mickalene Thomas to reimagine Dior’s Classic Bar Jacket and New Look skirt. She teamed up with The South-African shirt-maker Pathé’O to design a chemise for the collection in tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Dior’s milliner Stephen Jones collaborated with fellow hatters Martine Henry and Daniella Osemadewa on turbans and pan-African headpieces. Finally, Chiuri collaborated with Moroccan craftswomen Sumano on the show’s scenography, where traditional local pottery and textiles made up the set decor.
The show notes opened with a quote by Moroccan writer Tahar Ben Jelloun: “Culture teaches us to live together, teaches us that we’re not alone in the world, that other people have different traditions and ways of living that are just as valid as our own.” Check out the best look of this incredible fashion show below and be inspired by Morocco’s vibe.