Maria Grazia Chiuri this evening presented the Dior cruise 2020 collection in Marrakech, the theme of which was “common ground” – a celebration of different cultures coming together to co-create and find common ground.
Rather than simply being inspired by the continent of Africa as a whole, the designer invited artists and artisans from different backgrounds and African cultures to work jointly with her to open a dialogue between them.
“Maria Grazia Chiuri has always had her heart set on establishing creative exchanges with African cultures,” Dior explained in a press release. “With this collection, she sought to dialogue with the real and imagined landscape of Morocco, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Europe
The show drew in the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Jessica Alba and Karlie Kloss, who journeyed to the city’s 16th century El Badi Palace to take in the new Dior collection.
As well as nodding to Dior’s rich history with the continent, including the house’s former creative director Yves Saint Laurent’s fascination with Morocco, the collection sees the direct work of multiple artists from the continent.
Grazia Chiuri asked Pathé Ouédraogo – aka Pathé’O, one of Africa’s leading designers – to create a special shirt for the collection, which pays tribute to the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
She also collaborated with Grace Wales Bonner (a British-Jamaican designer whose work has explored African cultures) and Mickalene Thomas (an African-American artist), asking them to reinterpret through their combined creative vision an icon of the New Look, the Bar jacket and a skirt.
Grazia Chiuri also worked with many other African textile specialists and anthropologists on the collection and also highlighted the work of a textile manufacturer based in Africa called Uniwax, which perpetuates the extraordinary savoir-faire that makes wax a precious and culturally rich fabric.
The designer also teamed up with Sumano, an association that aims to revive the traditional women’s crafts of Moroccan tribes, including painting on pottery, the art of weaving and vegetal dyeing.