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Dior Celebrates Local Artisans In An Intricate Weave of Cultures

In a world of scrutiny, Maria Grazia Chiuri surpasses expectations and marries the best talents of Africa and the maison. Here, a look at what went down when we travelled with Dior to Marrakech.

The adaptation of cultural identities has been a long-debated conversation with designers and the people of the world. Where do we draw the line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation? It is easy to arrive at a culturally-rich country and pluck references left and right like grapes from a vine, but Maria Grazia Chiuri dug deeper, and refused to let the opportunity for change slip through her fingers.

Held in breathtaking Marrakech, Morocco, guests flew into the country on a Dior-branded private jet, and were welcomed with a dinner at Palais Bahia, dining on Dior homeware that we all wish we owned. Before the actual show, Dior brought guests on a little walk-around town, visiting the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, followed by lunch at stunning Villa Addi.

For the Cruise 2020 show, Dior collaborated with African artisans, showcasing how everyone can celebrate the magnificence of a rich heritage and share the beauty of craftsmanship with respect. It was a magnificent collection about culture, with no detail spared. Everything from the clothes right down to the carpet at Palais Badi, creativity and talent poured in from everywhere in Africa, prioritising the show’s title, “Common Ground”.

Set against a fiery backdrop, a diverse cast of models came down the runway in silhouettes Chiuri has made iconic to the house, but reinvented in intricate patterns formed with Uniwax, – one of the last remaining wax printing fabric manufacturers. This is not the first time the maison has worked with them. Remember the house’s signature toiles de Juoy and tarot card motifs? Chiuri describes these as similar to couture fabrics, because of the amount of craftsmanship and labour poured into making them.

Wearing prints head to toe suddenly doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea, and Dior shows exactly how you can do so yet still embody class, femininity and style. Other artisans like Grace Wales Bonner and Mickalene Thomas added their touches to the show, with intricate beading in collaged prints and raffia embroideries.

To end the night, guests were treated to a special performance by Diana Ross, dancing and singing along to a true and beloved icon. But the best thing to do the next day is not only to explore the streets of Marrakech, but to visit the Moroccan artists who contributed to the show, which is exactly where we made a beeline for.

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