On Monday night in Marrakesh, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her 2020 Cruise collection – a multi-layered cultural dialogue with Africa. It was at the Palais de la Bahia, under a Majorelle blue arbor – a color forever linked to Marrakesh.
The show paid fervent homage to the richness of traditional Moroccan cultures as well as to Dior’s heritage and savoir-faire. For Christian Dior, incorporating Morocco into his designs is a poetic, open and free geography that began with a chromatic homage. The pureness of white, that “usual colour of light” as Isaac Newton put it – to lessen the sun’s impact – predominates in the Maroc ensemble, a dress and coat in white tulle embroidered in silver, from 1951.
This collection is a world map connecting images and ambiances that, on this side of the Mediterranean, have shaped our visual culture. Its original inspiration – and veritable emblem – is Wax print fabric. The anthropologist Anne Grosfilley explores its complex origins and evolution. The incredible story of this fabric unfolds like a family tree, a journey that winds its way from Europe and Asia, extending into Africa. Wax print fabric celebrates and federates diversity; it is the fabric of a cultural melting pot. Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with the Uniwax factory and studio (in Ivory Coast) to reinterpret Dior codes by integrating them into the weave of the fabric for a special edition. Revisited in Wax, new toiles de Jouy come to life, recasting various landscapes or reinventing tarot motifs. The Bar suit, like all the other pieces, exalts the power of fashion as an inclusive, transnational language.
The Dior archives attest to this fascination, in Marc Bohan’s Jungle silhouette or a scarf printed with an African lion that gave life to a savannah bestiary. Landscapes that inspired authors such as Albert Camus, Paul Bowles, Alberto Moravia and Bernardo Bertolucci unfurl across warp prints, jacquards and fils coupés. At the crossroads of culture and emotion, Maria Grazia Chiuri underscores the power of Nature, an evocation punctuated with ecru silk, silk gauze, and shantung that, in shades of sand, indigo or burned red ocher, enhance coats and suits, pleated skirts and trousers.
Through its cultural dialogues, the Cruise collection offers a condensation of diverse realities and temporalities. Fashion itself is a unique fabric inspired by countless places and times that gives rise to a new vision. Through this magical act, Maria Grazia Chiuri projects a collective memory, a common territory that is open to every kind of possibility.