Paris and Marrakech are separated by 2,500 kilometers, yet in the grand scheme of things, that is not a tremendous distance to traverse in today’s age. Culturally speaking, however, they are worlds apart, so the exchange that occurred at Dior Cruise 2020 is an important one.
When we spoke to the legendary maison’s Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri in March, she dispensed this line of wisdom: “See, we must not forget that we are a global brand – yes, a French brand, but also a global brand. We have to speak with women who are all over the world.” Her vision includes not only taking Dior around the world to display the prowess of its ateliers, but also incorporating the feedback of her clients beyond the glamorous borders of Paris to engage in real dialogue that benefits the many instead of the few. Dior Cruise 2020 took this idea to a stunning conclusion by blending the codes of the house with the technique and savoir faire of Moroccan textile weavers.
In an era when everyone cries “cultural appropriation” at the slightest hint of provocation, Chiuri was steeled for backlash. The problem with cultural appropriation is when an individual or a brand lifts or “appropriates” the traditions from another culture, applying them for their own use without giving due credit to its progenitors and making a profit off it. Cultural appropriation erases history and dismisses representation. This is the opposite of what Dior achieved with its tremendously thoughtful collection. While commenters were quick to pop off, what they failed to understand was that Chiuri ensured that the artisans, craftspeople, and designers she tapped to fulfill the global vision of the collection directly profited from their contributions.
The exclusive video, above, shows in great detail the collaboration between Dior and Sumano, an organization on a mission to introduce and preserve the indigenous work of weavers in the Anti-Atlas region and pottery makers in northern Morocco. Chiuri asked Sumano’s talented artisans to craft the scenography of the show, including 2,500 pottery pieces, henna-covered cushions, and even the show’s opening look: a one-of-a-kind coat handwoven and hand-painted by the women of Sumano. It doesn’t get more culturally respectful than that.