Wax, a fabric emblematic of Africa was in the spotlight of the Dior 2020 Cruise collection presented in the setting of the El Badi Palace in Morocco as a dialogue between the Dior wardrobe and African fashion.
With traditional Moroccan ceramics and fabrics, El Badi Palace in Marrakesh, was rich in meaning. Long a meeting place for imagined realms of Europe and Africa, Marrakech also evokes the first successor to Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent.
On the occasion of the Dior Cruise 2020 collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated with Uniwax factory and studio (in Ivory Coast) to create pieces from Wax print fabrics, a highly complex, noble cloth whose roots wind between Europe, Asia and Africa. A unifying symbol of multifaceted fashion, the prints came in a multitude of motifs and colors. Dior codes including ‘toile de Jouy’ and ‘tarot’ cards were revisited in the fabrics’ motifs.
“Maria Grazia Chiuri has always had her heart set on establishing creative exchanges with African cultures. With this collection, she sought to dialogue with the real and imagined landscape of Morocco, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Europe, and Africa, like a dream destination for artists, poets, writers and eternal adventurers,” commented the LVMH-owned luxury fashion house.
Uniwax, one of the few remaining manufacturers of the fabric using traditional methods, is actively supporting African fashion. Maria Grazia Chiuri collaborated as well with African designer Pathé Ouédraogo, known as Pathé’O, who contributed a shirt designed exclusively for the show in tribute to Nelson Mandela.
For the Dior Cruise 2020 collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri invited two creative talents, LVMH Prize winner Grace Wales Bonner and New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas, to reinterpret the Maison’s iconic ‘New Look’ silhouette, the ‘Bar’ jacket and skirt. 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 by Morocco, 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. Maria Grazia Chiuri underscores the power of Nature 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.